With recent media coverage of the Zika virus, I have no doubt that many parents have questions and concerns regarding the relatively new virus spread by mosquitoes.
Zika spreads from person to person through the bite of an infected mosquito. The only documented cases in the U.S. have been from foreign travelers returning from affected countries including Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico and other South American nations. The illness is usually mild – lasting less than a week, with symptoms such as fever, pink eye, rash and mild joint pains. However, the focus of media coverage has been on the possible link between Zika and a specific birth defect called microcephaly in babies born to mothers infected while pregnant. Specifically, doctors in Brazil have seen an increase in babies born with small heads during the same time as the outbreak of Zika virus. This possible connection has prompted the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to issue a travel warning for pregnant women.
The bottom line for families here in the Chicago area is that to date there have been no incidences of infected mosquitoes in the U.S. transmitting Zika – so only those traveling to affected areas are at risk. Families planning to travel abroad can be in touch with our travel clinic.
For additional details on countries affected by Zika and related travel precaution, click here.