UPDATE: September 20, 2016
A new study noted in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
reports some people infected with Zika develop conjunctivitis, an eye
infection common known as “pink eye." Although the Zika infection
had been identified in urine, semen, saliva and breast milk, the study
noted Chinese travelers who had been infected in Venezuela were found
to have the virus from eye swabs five to seven days after symptoms occurred.
UPDATE: September 15, 2016
On September 7, The World Health Organization updated its assessment of
the Zika virus as a cause of congenital brain abnormalities in babies
and Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults, after considering months of research
into the mosquito-borne disease.
UPDATE: August 19, 2016
The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention currently recommend that men who have had symptoms of Zika
not attempt to father a child for six months after their illness. They
also suggest that men who have been ill practice safe sex or abstinence
if their partner is pregnant.
Since 2015, articles about the “new” Zika virus and the potential
spread of the virus worldwide to some 30 countries have been highlighted
in the news. Scientists are researching how and why a virus first identified
nearly 70 years ago as benign, could now pose such a grave risk, most
especially to pregnant women, women of child-bearing age, and men who
may be infected and impregnate women. To date there is no vaccine or treatment
for Zika. Due to these concerns, it is urged that everyone, especially
women of child-bearing age, be proactive in this regard and not wait until
symptoms appear. Everyone should avoid bug bites by using insect repellents,
removing any and all standing water, and scrubbing with soap any areas
that mosquitoes eggs could have been laid. Currently men who have symptoms
and have contracted the Zika virus have been recommended to ensure they
do not impregnate women for at least a few months.
Common Zika Virus symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes, although
some infected people do not have any Zika Virus symptoms. Zika Virus Disease
is thought to be spread to people through the bite of infected mosquitoes,
and through sexual transmission. Mosquitoes that spread Zika are aggressive
daytime and nighttime biters. Zika Virus infection in pregnant women has
recently been declared a definite cause of microcephaly. That condition
causes babies to be born with smaller heads and major developmental challenges
that are potentially lifelong. The virus is also associated with other
severe fetal brain defects, and has also been linked to Guillain-Barre
syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that can cause paralysis. Experts have
begun calling the host of conditions linked to the virus in babies, Congenital
Zika Syndrome, as recently some babies born with disabilities are more
severe than in textbook microcephaly cases.
Of the more than 3,000 U.S. pregnant women travelers tested for Zika so
far this year, coming from afflicted areas, a full 28% of them had Zika,
and most, but not all, had rash, fever or red eyes. We believe that women
who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should talk with your
doctors about your risks in general of having or contracting the disease,
and about travel to currently-known Zika infested areas, including the
potential for the spread in the southern gulf states of the United States.
Here in the U.S. preparations have begun for the possible spread of Zika
this summer, particularly in the southern Gulf States. The federal government
is now offering all US states funding to boost their prevention plans.
US health officials predict large outbreaks in the U.S. are not as likely
because of wide use of air conditioning and window screens. However, we
want to urge all pregnant women and women of child-bearing age to take
every precaution possible to avoid mosquito bites, sexual transmission
of the disease, and to carefully consider travel to known areas of wide-spread
The CDC recommends that pregnant women
and women trying to get pregnant or who may wish to become pregnant:
- Should not travel to any area with Zika.
- Women that must travel to, or live in an area with Zika virus, should talk
with healthcare providers and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites
- Women with a male partner(s) who lives in, or has traveled to an area with
Zika, should abstain or properly use condoms every time they have sex
- Before women or male partner(s) travel, talk to healthcare providers about
plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection
- Women and male partner(s) should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites
It was merely months ago that health officials thought the Zika virus was
not transmitted through sexual activity. Now, the CDC has an excellent
video available to the public about preventing the Zika virus, based on the
currently known methods of transmission, including sexual transmission.
Previously, microcephaly was considered a rare birth defect. Today doctors
working with infants in South America with Zika virus say some may never
learn to talk or walk, will have trouble seeing, could develop epilepsy.
Officials indicate that there may be a spectrum of problems with a baby’s
health that don’t show up as microcephaly.
If you have medical-legal concerns regarding your pregnancy or your baby’s
health, please don’t hesitate in contacting our experienced New
York medical malpractice law firm for a free consultation to ensure your
rights are protected. Call Pegalis and Erickson at (516) 684-2900. Or
email us at
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