Siouxland's only Perinatologist speaks on growing fear of Zika Virus in the community

19 states, including Nebraska, have reported Zika cases

By Christina Grijalva | cgrijalva@kcautv.com

Published 02/10 2016 06:41PM

Updated 02/10 2016 06:58PM

The Zika Virus, a disease commonly found in South and Central America, is raising some questions here in the United States

Now, with cases of the virus being reported in 19 states, pregnant women are being told not to travel abroad, so they do not risk being infected and passing it on to their unborn babies.

Dr. Al Fleming from Unity Point Health says this recent outbreak has received some attention from expectant mothers in Sioux City.

"This particular time of year, during the middle of winter, people at least the questions I've got are more interest, " said Dr. Fleming.

The virus is passed through mosquito bites and with the winter weather,  the risk of infection in the area is not likely.

"The main thing is for mosquito control, uh if you control the mosquito, then the risk for wide spread infection is going to be limited," said Dr. Fleming. "And at least in this particular case, the likely hood of a wide spread outbreak in this country is pretty low."

Dr. Fleming, being the only Perinatologist in Sioux City, deals with high risk pregnancies and says this virus could cause major complications during a pregnancy.

"The main concern for the pregnant patient of course would be concerns about birth defects, particularly Microcephaly, which is a small head size," said Dr. Fleming. "That is something that can be readily diagnosed through ultra sound."

His opinion on women contemplating traveling to these regions, avoid the problem all together.

"My best advice, don't go," said Dr. Fleming. "If you don't get bit by a mosquito, you're not gonna get the condition."

Even though researchers are a couple of years from finding a Zika vaccine, Dr. Fleming believes the chances of disease becoming a huge problem in the U.S. are low.

"The risk for infection is very very low, particularly for this time of year. No mosquitos, we don't really need to worry about it."

The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and pink eye.

These symptoms can last several days to a week.

The CDC have issued travel notices for those traveling to certain regions, where Zika virus transmission  is ongoing.
 

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