The Zika Virus- What do I need to know?
Many of our patients—both those attempting conception and those already pregnant—have been asking us about their travel and vacation plans to affected areas.
NRM and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) are closely following developments related to the Zika virus:
- In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.
- At this point, it seems clear the virus has implications for reproduction and that it can be transmitted through sexual activity and reproductive tissues.
- In response, the CDC has issued travel notices for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
How long should I wait to attempt pregnancy?
NRM recommends patients follow ASRM Guidelines:
- Females and Males who are exposed to Zika (for example, travel to an infected area) but do not feel they developed symptoms of the disease should wait 8 weeks after exposure prior to attempting conception.
- Females infected with Zika virus or those experiencing symptoms consistent with the virus should wait 8 weeks following the resolution of symptoms prior to attempting conception.
- Males infected with Zika virus or those experiencing symptoms consistent with the virus should wait 6 months following the resolution of symptoms prior to attempting conception.
ASRM has issued the following statement:
We urge patients who are pregnant, who are considering becoming pregnant, or those who may be involved as donors or recipients of reproductive tissues to exercise caution.
Due to the rapidly evolving understanding of Zika, we strongly recommend that our members and their patients follow the information and recommendations made available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has issued “Level 2 Practice Enhanced Precautions” recommendations for certain areas, urging those pregnant or seeking to become pregnant to avoid travel to those areas, or use enhanced prevention and follow-up activities if such travel cannot be avoided.
More information is available on the CDC website.