The World Health Organization has declared an international emergency over the explosive spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Health officials are most concerned about possible birth defects when a pregnant woman is bitten by a mosquito carrying the Zika virus.
It’s estimated that the virus has infected people in more than 25 countries, including 11 U.S. states and Washington D.C. So far, there have not been any reported cases in Utah, according to Alfred Romeo, a nurse with the state Department of Health mother-to-baby pregnancy risk line.
“We don’t have the Zika virus here in the United States spreading around. People that have contracted it have traveled to other countries and come back,” Romeo says. “So we don’t want women to travel to those other countries where Zika virus is present if they can at all avoid going to those countries.”
Romeo says they are advising pregnant women to avoid Central and South America, as well as the Pacific Rim. If they must travel, he says they should try to prevent contact with mosquitos. For other adults and children the virus can have flu-like symptoms. Currently, there is no vaccine for the Zika virus.