DSHS Reminds Pregnant Women who Travel to Mexico about Zika Testing
October 14, 2016
The Texas Department of StateHealth Services is reminding pregnant women who cross the border with Mexico thatZika testing is available to them and encourages them to discuss testing withtheir health care providers. Under current Centers for Disease Control andPrevention guidelines, Zika testing is recommended for any pregnant woman who hastraveled to a country with ongoing Zika transmission, including those whoregularly cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
DSHSalso reminds health care providers to assess their pregnant patients forpossible Zika virus exposure at each prenatal care visit. CDC and DSHSrecommend testing for Zika antibodies as a part of routine prenatal care duringthe first and second trimesters in pregnant women with an ongoing risk of Zikaexposure.
Thisreminder is especially important for pregnant women with regular, frequenttravel to any part of Mexico during the peak mosquito season of August throughOctober or who have a sexual partner with regular, frequent travel, defined ascrossing the border weekly or more often.
DSHSis interested in expanding the amount of Zika testing being done in Texas,particularly in communities along the border considered to be at a higher riskof local transmission because of their geography and history of outbreaks ofdengue, a similar virus spread by the same types of mosquitoes.
Pregnantwomen are a particular focus because of the risk of birth defects associatedwith Zika. They should avoid travel to countries with a CDC Zika travel noticeand prevent sexual transmission by using condoms or not having sex withpartners who have traveled to those areas. Information for travelers, includinga link to CDC’s travel notices, is at www.TexasZika.org/travelers.htm.
Additionally,everyone can help prevent the spread of Zika by mosquito bites by:
- Using EPA-approved insect repellent. Repellentsare safe to use during pregnancy when applied according to the labelinstructions.
- Wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts thatcover exposed skin.
- Using air conditioning or window and doorscreens that are in good repair to keep mosquitoes out of their homes.
- Removing standing water in and around homes,including water in trash cans, toys, tires, flower pots and any other containerthat can hold water.
Texas has had 229reported Zika cases, all related to travel, including two cases transmitted viasexual contact with someone infected overseas and two infants who were infectedbefore birth. For more information on Zika, including the latest testing criteriafor health care providers, visit www.TexasZika.org.
(News Media Contact: ChrisVan Deusen, DSHS Press Officer, 512-776-7753)
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