The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel warning Monday, advising pregnant women and their partners to avoid the Wynwood arts district in Miami. So far, 14 cases of Zika virus have been caused by mosquitoes in that area.
Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Dr. Christine Curry, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the University of Miami Hospital, about how she’s advising her patients.
Interview Highlights: Christine Curry
On her advice for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
“For our patients who are already pregnant and live in this area of concern, we are encouraging them to speak with their doctors as soon as possible, so that we can discuss mosquito prevention and prevention via sexual transmission, but also for us to begin to arrange testing for them during the pregnancy.”
On what women who live next to the Wynwood neighborhood can do
“Certainly we think that all of the areas have the potential for transmission. In this area of concern, we had weeks of investigation before we were able to really confirm that there was transmission. Every place has the potential for infection and every place has the potential for the mosquitoes to have Zika. Even for the women who don’t live in this area, they’re getting the same advice. Protect from mosquito bites, protect against sexual transmission and be really thoughtful if they’re pregnant, what their exposure to mosquitoes is.”
On whether pregnant women have to worry about using bug spray
"Certainly it’s something that people are thinking about and people are talking about. All of the EPA approved repellents are safe in pregnancy when they’re used as directed. And so we’re telling our pregnant patients to use the mosquito repellent they get in their stores. Whatever they have been using in the past that they’re comfortable with, we want to encourage them to use it every time they leave the house."
On whether she thinks there are more than 14 cases in the Miami area
"I think what we’ve learned so far about the virus is that the patients that are actually sick are the minority of patients. So I don’t think from an epidemiologic perspective it’s unreasonable to think there are more people who haven’t been infected."
On whether women who don’t have symptoms should get tested
"Women who live within this area in particular, we would like to test them in both the first or second trimester. If we find that it’s more widespread than we thought or other neighborhoods have areas of infection, we would encourage first and second trimester screening in those women as well, even if they felt fine."
On if she expects the situation to get worse
"It’s a hard thing to try and predict, but now that we know we have local transmission, there’s certainly potential for other areas to have transmission, or for it to become widespread, and it is really important that when we’re thinking about this it’s not just this neighborhood. All of us have the obligation to try and interrupt the chain of infection and deal with mosquito control in our own backyards."
This segment aired on August 2, 2016.
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