CDC issues Zika testing recommendation for pregnant women

CDC issues Zika testing recommendation for pregnant women

Any pregnant women who has traveled to Miami-Dade County or had unprotected sex with someone who lived in or traveled to this county since 1st of August should immediately get tested for the Zika virus, federal health official have advised.

Issuing the recommendation, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) noted that Zika virus is highly contagious and it can cause serious birth defects.

Dr. Lyle Petersen, the director of the federal agency's Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, said, "Our guidance today strengthens our travel advice and testing recommendations for pregnant women, to further prevent the spread of the infection among those most vulnerable."

The updated recommendations followed Florida Gov. Rick Scott's last week's confirmation that local transmission of Zika virus in Miami's Little River neighborhood. Active transmission areas have been designated as "red areas" and local transmission areas have been designated as "yellow area." Miami-Dade is among yellow areas.

The virus in question is particularly devastating for pregnant women because it can cause devastating birth defects like microcephaly and several other neurological deficits. In addition, it can cause miscarriage and stillborn births.

It spreads through animal bits or insect stings or through unprotected sex with an already infected person. Symptoms include fever, rash, red eyes, pain in joints and fatigue.