We knew it was possible. And now, it has been established that local Zika transmission is taking place in the U.S. Fourteen cases have been reported in Wynwood, a neighborhood in Miami, Florida. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is likely more people will become infected in this specific area. So the state and the CDC are recommending how pregnant women should proceed in light of this scary new reality.
First, if you're pregnant, you are advised not to travel to Wynwood. But what if you are expecting a baby, and you live in the impacted neighborhood? The CDC previously issued guidelines for preventing mosquito bites and avoiding sexual transmission of the birth defect-causing illness, and you are urged to follow those.
If you are pregnant, and you traveled to the area on or after June 15, 2016, you should get tested for Zika. If you travel to the area frequently, you should get tested in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, even if you haven't had any symptoms. That's because many infected people will never exhibit symptoms at all.
In fact, the CDC is recommending that all pregnant women be assessed for Zika.
Guys, if your partner is pregnant, and you live in or have traveled to the Miami area, practicing safe sex with condoms is recommended for the duration of gestation. And the CDC further advises anyone who has traveled to the area where transmission took place not try to get pregnant for eight weeks, and practice safe sex. Anyone diagnosed with Zika should not get pregnant for at least six months following the infection.
The message really seems to be that erring on the side of caution is key if you are pregnant and if you or your partner could have potentially been exposed to Zika in the U.S. or abroad.
Meanwhile, it's likely more information and advisories will come out as the situation develops. Here's hoping this is the very worst things will get, and that with cooler fall weather, the risk of Zika will diminish significantly.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.