SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) — A warning from the Utah Health Department after two pregnant women in Utah had miscarriages due to the Zika virus. Last year, there were a total of 5 cases in the United States of pregnancy losses involving Zika.
In the past 5 months, two pregnant women lost their babies in the first trimester after traveling outside of the country.
Rebecca Ward, Utah Department of Health, “The message is protect yourself from mosquitoes.”
The mosquito that carries Zika is not found in Utah. Most people who catch the virus traveled outside of the U.S. where there were recent Zika outbreaks. Last summer, we saw aggressive spraying in Zika hot zones to contain the outbreak in Florida.
Rebecca Ward, ‘just because the mosquito is not present in Utah doesn’t mean you can’t contract Zika by traveling to countries where the mosquito is present or by sexual transmission with someone who is infected.”
Zika infection in unborn children can result in abnormally small heads and brain defects, as well as other issues including eye defects, hearing loss and impaired growth.
In Utah, there have been 29 people infected with Zika, including 11 pregnant women since the beginning of 2016. The virus is predominantly spread through infected mosquitoes or sexual with an infected person.
Health officials say pregnant women or those thinking about getting pregnant should avoid traveling to areas with Zika especially certain parts of Latin America.
Ward, “if you are going to country and you can’t avoid and are pregnant or planning to get pregnant you want to take precautions against mosquitoes. Cover yourself, wear long pants, use insect repellant.”
When you do return to the U.S, health officials suggest wearing that insect repellent for several more weeks and refraining from sex for at least 2 months if you are planning to get pregnant.
Of the 11 pregnant women with Zika, 8 did not pass on the virus to their baby. Pregnant women should talk to their doctor before traveling to areas with the Zika virus.