The Impacts of the Zika Virus


As summer comes to an end, the threat of the Zika virus will leave the news cycle for a few months.   But the effects of the virus are quite real and ongoing.  The CDC recently put out a study on the outcomes of pregnancies exposed to the Zika virus in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

The CDC has found that nearly one out of seven babies exposed to the Zika virus in pregnancy have major health issues after birth:

  • 6% have birth defects (small head, small brain, eye damage)
  • 9% have some neurodevelopmental issue (seizures, trouble swallowing)
  • 1% have both
  • Limited movement of joints
  • Too much muscle tone restricting body movements

The Zika virus hit the news cycles in a major way in the fall of 2015 due to an outbreak in Brazil and the resulting increase of babies being born with microcephaly (small heads).  But the virus—and it’s risk to developing fetuses—has not disappeared.  Over 2016 and 2017 it has spread to other area.

Current CDC recommendations still recommend caution for women who are planning on conceiving, are pregnant, and their partners:

  • Women should avoid travel to any Zika endemic area
  • After travel to a Zika endemic area, women should wait 8 weeks before conceiving
  • After travel to a Zika endemic area, male partners of women planning conception should wait 6 months
  • After travel to a Zika endemic area, male partners of pregnant women should use condoms for the duration of the pregnancy
  • If a couple must travel to a Zika endemic area, please consult with your OBGYN first to use best practices to avoid contracting the virus



El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems.   Drs. Amy TengErika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecgologic Surgery.   Dr. Erika Balassiano is also a graduate of the Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship at Stanford University, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.


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