The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now warning everyone that Zika is scarier than they originally thought.
Over 300 cases of Zika virus have now been confirmed in the U.S. And while most of these occurrences are in people who had traveled to countries with Zika-infected mosquitos, now we know that the virus can be transmitted sexually in addition to a mosquito bite.
The biggest concern right now related to Zika is for pregnant women. Zika virus can cause a neurodevelopmental disorder in fetuses, Microcephaly, that causes babies to be born with a head and brain that are smaller than normal. Now research is showing that Zika not only affects women in their first trimester, but can be a risk throughout all stages of pregnancy, according to CDC Deputy Director, Dr. Anne Schuchat.
“Most of what we’ve learned is not reassuring,” she added. “Everything we know about this virus seems to be scarier than we initially thought.
The mosquitoes carrying Zika virus have been identified in 30 states across the country. This doesn’t mean the mosquitoes are infected, but health officials are concerned that as temperatures begin to rise, pregnant women from Texas to Florida will be at risk.
For women who are not pregnant, if you’ve experienced symptoms of Zika – fever, rash, itchy eyes – wait at least 8 weeks before trying to conceive. And even if you’ve had no symptoms at all but have recently traveled to any of the countries with active Zika transmissions, it’s advised to also wait 8 weeks or longer before trying to get pregnant.
On a positive note, the CDC has asked for federal funding to aid in the research and development of a cure, with a vaccine potentially expected to release in September 2016.