RVA Parenting: What to know about the Zika virus

RVA Parenting: What to know about the Zika virus

(WWBT) - The concern is growing over a virus spread by mosquitoes that is causing babies to be born with smaller brains and heads. The outbreak has the World Health Organization's attention. The group announced Monday it believes it will spread to the Americas.

Right now, there are cases of Zika in the US. However, doctors do not believe the virus was acquired in the US but rather by people who traveled to impacted areas.

There is concern because the type of mosquito transmitting the virus is found in the US and the virus seems to be spreading quickly. There is little scientific data on it, and it's unclear why babies born to women with the virus in Brazil- are being born with the condition.

Therefore, officials warn not to travel to areas where the virus is a problem, like Brazil and the Caribbean.

However, if you do travel, work closely with a doctor.

"It is recommended that if you are pregnant that you don't travel to those areas," Dr. Mark Flanzenbaum with KidMed reinforced. "You exercise extreme caution. But if you do travel, you should have a close follow up with your obstetrician."

He also recommends taking precautions, like wearing long sleeves and using bug spray.

"If you put on sunscreen, the recommendation is actually to put on the bug repellents that contain deet over top of the sunscreen, non under the sunscreen," said Flanzenbaum.

The concern is primarily for pregnant women because of the impact it seems to be having on new babies.

However, anyone can get Zika virus.

"If you get bitten, you actually can get a disease called Zika and it's actually very mild," said Flanzenbaum. "People are usually not hospitalized. People have fever, people have joint pain, a rash, some pink eye, but usually it lasts maybe three to seven days and then it's over and done with. It's actually a pretty mild illness."

If you want to see the full interview with Dr. Mark Flanzenbaum, just click here.

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