Pregnant women warned about Zika virus

Pregnant women are being advised not to travel to certain countries after reports of an outbreak of the Zika virus.

According to koodakpress، The Zika virus is transmitted through mosquitoes. The same species of mosquitoes carry dengue and yellow fever.

The virus in adults usually goes undetected, but in some cases has been known to cause fever, rash, severe headache, joint pain and muscle or bone pain. Usually any illness from the Zika virus is not severe.

However, pregnant women could be most at risk because the Zika virus is believed to cause birth defects, in particular a birth defect affecting brain growth called ‘microcephaly’.

Recent outbreaks of the virus in Brazil have also seen reported cases of microcephaly increased from 140 in 2014 to 3,893 in 2015.

There is currently no cure or vaccine for the disease.

As a precaution, pregnant women and women planning pregnancy are being advised to avoid travelling to countries where the virus outbreak has been detected.

If travel is unavoidable, you should follow guidelines to prevent mosquito bites, such as using insect repellent, wearing light-coloured clothes that cover as much of the body as possible, staying indoors and sleeping under mosquito nets.

If you are planning travel to any of the countries or have recently returned and have concerns, speak to your doctor.

The Zika virus has been found in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands as well as the recent outbreaks in Central and South America.

There have been no reported cases of Zika being contracted in Australia, although there have been a handful of cases of travellers returning from overseas in recent years.

Visit smartraveller.gov.au to find out which countries are affected.

Advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs is to check the country advice for your destination. You should also discuss your travel plans with your doctor.

If you have recently returned from one of these countries and are concerned, see your doctor.

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