Four states now reporting Zika virus infections

Four states now reporting Zika virus infections

Mosquitoes go hand-in-hand with living in Southwest Louisiana. The particular mosquito to blame for the Zika virus is the female Aedes Aegypti mosquito, a common mosquito in the warmer Gulf coast states.  

No Zika infections have been reported in Louisiana, although four other states have confirmed infections. Those are in Arkansas, New York, Virginia, and Minnesota.

Zika is actively spreading in many top vacation spots, such as the Caribbean, Mexico, and Brazil, which is also the site of this summer's Olympic games.

Unlike other mosquito-borne diseases, Zika has become of particular concern to pregnant women, because Brazil is now the epicenter of a Zika epidemic linked to babies born with microcephaly. That is a devastating neurological condition where the baby's head and brain do not develop.

Brazilian health officials say nearly 4,200 babies have been born with this condition since October 2015. That is compared to 146 in all of 2014.

Women living in Brazil, El Salvador, Colombia and Jamaica are now being told not to get pregnant at this time. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also sounding the alarm.

"Pregnant women should consider deferring travel to areas where Zika virus is currently circulating," said Dr. Beth Bell with the CDC.

Also, if you have traveled to these destinations while pregnant, get tested, because 80 percent of those infected have no symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, or pink eye.

Babies should also be screened after birth, according to Dr. Bell.

"It's important for them to go in because we really don't know right now whether having symptoms or not having symptoms with Zika virus infection has any impact on the possibility that there will be a birth defect in the child," she said.

One baby was born with microcephaly in Hawaii. His mom had traveled to Brazil during her pregnancy.

With a handful of states reporting confirmed cases of Zika, health officials stress they did not get the virus in the United States. Instead, all have recently traveled to countries where Zika is circulating.

If or when Zika is locally transmitted, for those who are not expecting, the virus is usually mild and not a danger to future births.

Part of this report was contributed by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

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