BENGALURU: With the detection of 14 positive cases of the Zika virus in Kerala, and Karnataka on high alert, health professionals point out that pregnant women should not travel to the affected state or come in contact with people travelling from there.
Those who have recently come from Kerala should also be cautious about getting pregnant, and it’s best avoided for at least two months, they added. Zika virus is caused by the bite of the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopiticus mosquitoes, and primarily impacts pregnant women, causing neurological disorders in the foetus.
Dr Bharati Kamoji, Senior Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Aster CMI Hospital, stated that as the Zika virus can cause severe birth defects, it is recommended that pregnant women should not travel to areas which report Zika outbreak.
“As no vaccine has been developed for the Zika virus, it is advisable that couples use precautions or avoid sex with someone who has recently travelled to a risk area. Men who have been infected with the virus, and even those with a travel history to affected areas should wait for three months, and women should wait for two months after their journey or falling ill, before attempting to get pregnant,” said Dr Kamoji.
Dr Gayathri D Kamath, Senior Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Fortis Hospitals, said, “Anyone who has travelled back from Kerala now should be watchful of getting pregnant. As the mosquitoes bite during the day, it’s advisable to keep the entire body covered.” Dr Sunil Eshwar, Lead Consultant - Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Aster RV Hospital, said EPA-registered insect repellents are proven to be safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Preventive measures should be followed at home, said Dr Vidhyashree, Consultant OBG, KMC Hospital, Mangaluru. “Stay in places with air-conditioning or with screens on doors and windows. Make sure your clothes cover and protect your skin. Treat clothes, shoes and other gear with a bug spray called permethrin. Don’t spray permethrin on your skin. Remove still water inside and outside your home and workplace. Empty water from flowerpots, buckets, pet water bowls and children’s pools, as mosquitoes can lay eggs in very small amounts of water.”