Florida Reports 9 Pregnant Women With Zika Virus During 2019

Zika travel alerts vary by country but warn pregnant women to avoid unnecessary trips

pregnant husband and wife on a beach at sunset in a silhouette

The Florida Department of Health’s (DOH) Zika website has disclosed 9 pregnant women have acquired the Zika virus outside of Florida, or through sexual transmission, during 2019. 

As of April 9, 2019, the Zika-Free-Florida website reports there have been 13 Zika cases reported during 2019. 

This new information from the Florida DOH indicates an increase of 4 Zika cases in women, during the past month. 

This information is in conflict with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, which says there have not been any Zika cases reported in the USA during 2019.

Moreover, Florida’s information indicates the Zika virus remains a health risk to international travelers, potentially in conflict with current CDC guidance.   

As of March 2019, the CDC downgraded its Zika warning and removed previous Travel Alerts issued for various countries around the world. 

As an example, the CDC removed its Travel Alert for Jamaica while Canada and the UK continue to alert its citizens about the Zika risk on Jamaica. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada updated its international traveler advice on March 29, 2019, saying ‘pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant, should avoid travel to Jamaica.   

And, the UK says ‘there is a risk of Zika in Jamaica, and pregnant women should consider avoiding travel to this country until after the pregnancy.   

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The current CDC awareness program does say ‘pregnant women or those planning on getting pregnant, should not travel to areas where there is an active outbreak of Zika.’ 

This advice is based on CDC research, which has found the Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. 

And, a Zika infection during pregnancy can lead to congenital Zika syndrome, such as Microcephaly. 

A new study published on March 6, 2019, reported women infected with the Zika virus early in pregnancy are almost 17 times more likely to have a child with microcephaly. 

Since there is not a preventive vaccine available today, the CDC’s primary suggestion is to avoid mosquito bites when traveling abroad. 

This is because Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus), which are present during the day and night. 

In making an international travel decision, consider your destination and your ability to protect yourself from mosquito bites, says the CDC. And consult with a healthcare provider in making this decision. 

International travel counseling session regarding vaccines and medications can be scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel.