Author Topic: I'm not so sure... "Zika not a worry now for pregnant women in US"  (Read 648 times)

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Offline CountryLady

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First, read the following comments by a top National Institutes of Health official.
Sounds reassuring, but what are his facts? I'm not so sure I'm convinced his perspective is right for me.

Health official: Zika not worry now for pregnant women in US
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/54506fa6951d4912b47941f68f5f25b7/health-official-zika-not-worry-now-pregnant-women-us
 Apr. 17, 2016 2:52 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top public health official says there's been no local transmission of the Zika (ZEE'-kuh) virus in the United States, so any talk about women in the country delaying pregnancy "is not even an issue for discussion at this point."

Dr. Anthony Fauci (FOW'-chee) of the National Institutes of Health also says it's "very likely" the U.S. could see "local transmitted cases as we get into the robust mosquito season" this summer.

He says if there's a "local outbreak," it's up to health officials to work to contain it.

For now, he says, women in the U.S. who are getting pregnant "should not be worried about anything regarding pregnancy" — but steer clear of countries where there are outbreaks.

 --
Fauci appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation" and "Fox News Sunday 4/17/16.


/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / ~ ? ~ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \

I don't know if Dr. Fauci is trying to keep people calm, no doubt he knows much more than I know about the Zika Virus, OR if I am simply more pro-active in dealing with potential personal disasters/birth defects than he is, but any woman getting pregnant right NOW, will be three months along in mid-July and there is much to be refined in the development of an unborn child at that stage of growth.

If I were of child-bearing age, I would have to question the possibilities that there were chances the baby's father might have caught Zika from an mosquito or from a person here in the US who is a Zika Vector (able to pass the virus along). There is SO much still unknown about the Zika Virus and how it is passed on to others. If "Mono", the mononucleosis virus, can be passed to another via a kiss, being in the spray of someone's sneeze, drinking tea from the infected person's glass, etc, might we get Zika the same way? Perhaps there are things I don't know about that would prevent it, but frankly, I'm not convinced!

If there were some reason I felt I really NEEDED to get pregnant this supper, I'd probably want to move to an area of the country where it is too cool for the specific mosquitoes that can pass on Zika to live, and I would probably also make sure with his' & her's blood tests for Zika to be absolutely sure. Many times an child affected by birth defects can live a comfortable, rewarding life, but more often it would be better if the parents were personally and financially prepared for the additional expenses and demands of caring for a handicapped child, and if I could either be more patient and plan a little more carefully before getting pregnant, I do believe I would.

I'm not the only one who is still concerned that we don't know everything about the Zika Virus and I would want to be more certain of the kind of life I would be giving my child before I choose to give him or her LIFE. Maybe I'm just a worry-wort. I think the next news article presents the Zika Virus situation in a more realistic way. My perspective may be right for me but I'm not saying that it is the right perspective for anyone else. :)

Offline CountryLady

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Re: I'm not so sure... "Zika not a worry now for pregnant women in US"
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2016, 05:09:07 PM »
Health Officials Split Over Advice on Pregnancy in Zika Areas
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/15/health/zika-virus-pregnancy-delay-birth-defects-cdc.html
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. APRIL 14, 2016

( snip )
As the Zika virus bears down on the United States, federal health officials are divided over a politically and ethically charged question: Should they advise American women to delay pregnancy in areas where the virus is circulating?

Some infectious disease experts are arguing that avoiding conception is the only sure way to prevent the births of deformed babies, according to outside researchers who serve on various advisory panels.

Women’s health specialists, on the other hand, counter that the government should not tell women what to do with their bodies. Indeed, federal health officials have never advised all the women in a region of the country to stop having children. Moreover, they say, most babies conceived during Zika epidemics in Latin America have been born healthy.

Several federal experts central to the discussion declined to be interviewed for this article. Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, described the internal debate as “a very long conversation.”

For now, “we do not have a recommendation to not become pregnant,” Dr. Frieden said at a “Zika summit” held recently at disease agency headquarters in Atlanta. “We do recommend access to contraception.”

On Wednesday, the agency confirmed what many experts already believed: that the mosquito-borne virus, which is usually mild in adults, can cause severe brain damage in infants.

( snip )

Dr. Marcos Espinal, who directs the Zika response of the Pan American Health Organization, an arm of the World Health Organization, said in an interview that he thought advising women to avoid conception during an epidemic’s relatively brief peak months, as Colombia did, “is sound advice.”

Yet the W.H.O. does not follow that policy. Dr. Bruce Aylward, the agency’s head of emergency response, called avoiding pregnancy “a complicated decision that is different for each individual woman.”

Currently, the question affects Americans only in Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands and American Samoa, where the Zika virus is circulating locally. But if the virus spreads as expected this summer, women in Hawaii and many Gulf Coast states may also be faced with tough choices.

Despite the C.D.C.’s stance, Puerto Rico’s health secretary, Dr. Ana Ríus, has been advising women to avoid pregnancy, although she has done so in public interviews, not in a large health campaign. Women on the island may be following her advice, she said; preliminary figures indicate that there are 8 percent fewer pregnancies than there were at this time last year.

For women living on those islands, the disease agency’s current guidelines do not advocate delaying pregnancy, instead calling the timing of conception a “deeply personal and very complex decision” and suggesting that women consult their doctors for “pregnancy planning.”

But tourists visiting the islands receive specific advice to avoid pregnancy for eight weeks after a visit, and for six months if male partners have had symptoms of Zika infection.

( snip )

One expert familiar with the debate, Michael T. Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, described it as “two groups describing an elephant, one looking at the head and the other at the tail.”

Dr. William Schaffner, the chairman of department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical School, who also described the outlines of the split, said that withholding conception advice might leave couples adrift.

“They have to think it through by themselves,” he said. “They may hear it from their doctors or mothers or friends at the beauty parlor, but not from the C.D.C.”

Advocates of delaying pregnancy give several reasons.

First, they do not believe that even the most aggressive mosquito-control efforts can protect pregnant woman 24 hours a day for nine months.

No country yet has stopped dengue or chikungunya, which, like Zika, are spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and the disease agency itself has warned that reductions of 80 percent to 90 percent in those mosquito populations sometimes does not reduce disease transmission.

Second, no vaccine is expected to be ready for at least two years.

Third, evidence is mounting that Zika outbreaks are intense but brief. In French Polynesia in 2013, the virus infected 66 percent of the population within seven months and then disappeared.

Because women who recover from Zika appear to be permanently immune, experts argue that delaying conception spares them the risk of having a child with severe birth defects, along with the agonizing worry — and lets them conceive safely a year later.

( snip )

“It’s a no-brainer,” said Dr. Peter J. Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. “They should say, ‘Don’t get pregnant — watch TV for six months and you won’t have a badly hurt baby.’”

In framing the language of the guidelines, Dr. Frieden said he was “guided by the perspective” of Dr. Denise J. Jamieson, a medical officer in the disease agency’s division of reproductive health.

In an interview, Dr. Jamieson described birth defects as a rare complication of Zika infection. Even during an epidemic, she said, “most women will have healthy babies.”

Further, Dr. Jamieson said, delays “would also prevent wanted pregnancies,” especially in older women struggling with fertility, for example.

Advice from government doctors on such personal decisions, she added, “is not likely to be effective.”

Asked what advice she would have given during the last American rubella epidemic — which killed or severely handicapped an estimated 20,000 babies — she answered: “I would have said, ‘This is an extraordinarily risky time to get pregnant.’ ”

But she does not endorse giving the same advice this time, she said, because rubella was unavoidable in those prevaccine days, whereas now, “highly motivated women can take measures to avoid mosquito bites.”

Local health officials have offered a variety of perspectives.

In the United States Virgin Islands, Michelle S. Davis, the territory’s new health secretary, said she had not advocated pregnancy delay, although individual doctors may be doing so.

The story has played out differently in Puerto Rico, where the C.D.C. has said there could be thousands of pregnant women infected by late summer.

Dr. Ríus, the health secretary, suggested in several public interviews that women delay conception until more is known about the virus. She also instructed public clinics to distribute condoms.

She was accused of alarmism, and the island’s Roman Catholic archbishop criticized her condom plan.

But in an interview at the Atlanta summit meeting, she said that a new pregnancy surveillance network created by the disease agency for the epidemic suggested that women there may be heeding her advice. Births are expected to number 28,000 this year, below last year’s total of 30,323.

Prominent gynecologists in Puerto Rico also are advising patients to avoid pregnancy.

Dr. Jose Alvarez Romagosa, a fertility specialist at the Auxilio Mutuo Hospital in San Juan and star of a popular television show, “Latin Doctors,” said he had dissuaded three patients from conceiving in a single day.

Dr. Manuel Navas, a fertility specialist and medical director of HIMA-San Pablo Hospital in Fajardo, a town where some of the island’s earliest Zika infections were detected, said he, too, was discouraging most patients from conceiving unless they were desperate for a child and he was sure they understood the risks.

That was the advice he would give his daughter, he added.

Asked how his patients reacted, he said, “They appreciate it.”

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A version of this article appears in print on April 15, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: U.S. Zika Experts Divide on Advice for Pregnancies.


================================

CL here....
I think there is a LOT of wisdom in giving the details to people and supporting them in their decisions, rather than making blanket statements that women don't have anything to be worried about and not giving the reasons.

What do you think?

Offline chloe

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Re: I'm not so sure... "Zika not a worry now for pregnant women in US"
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2016, 10:55:04 AM »
Thank you CL for keeping us up on info for this virus. It is very important that we know what is happening so we can stay prepared and be able to know if we do have a breakout.  :gthumbsup1:


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Offline CountryLady

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Re: I'm not so sure... "Zika not a worry now for pregnant women in US"
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2016, 03:57:02 PM »
Virginia lab to start testing for Zika virus
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/a37ba2c9a5dc4288b6e50aa6448218ea/un-ambassadors-motorcade-hits-kills-boy

By Web Staff | Posted: Mon 3:10 PM, Apr 18, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ7) A Virginia laboratory has received approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to start testing for the Zika virus.

The testing will be ready to go ahead of mosquito season, which begins May 1.


As of last week, the Virginia Department of Health reported 11 cases of Zika virus in Virginia.

The detesting can detect Zika virus in an infected person’s blood from approximately six days after symptoms are present up to 12 weeks after being infected.

Here is the news release from the Virginia Department of Health:

The Department of General Services today announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated the department’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services as a Zika virus testing laboratory, which will allow for more timely results for those suspected of being infected by the mosquito-borne illness.

The Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) will perform serologic testing for Zika virus, which can detect antibodies in the blood of an infected person from approximately six days after symptoms are present up to 12 weeks after infection. Since the presence of other closely related illnesses such as Dengue virus could lead to false positive results, the CDC will conduct confirmation testing whenever positive or inconclusive Zika test results occur.

“When facing threats to public health such as Zika virus, accurate and timely laboratory testing is not only important for providing appropriate patient care but also for supporting public health response efforts,” said Dr. Denise Toney, DCLS Director.

As of April 14, 2016, the Virginia Department of Health has reported to the CDC 11 cases of Zika virus in Virginia residents associated with travel outside the U.S.

Prior to DCLS being designated as a Zika virus testing laboratory, all patient specimens would be submitted to the CDC for testing. The CDC quickly experienced a backlog of patient specimens arriving from all over the country. In order to expand the number of testing laboratories, the CDC acquired approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in late February under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to distribute a diagnostic test for detection of Zika virus to state public health laboratories nationwide that are part of the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network, an integrated network of laboratories that include Virginia’s DCLS. In order to be able to perform the testing, DCLS participated in required CDC training, conducted a rapid but extensive validation of the method as outlined in the EUA, and successfully completed a proficiency testing panel.

While many people infected with Zika will experience mild symptoms, the CDC advises there is a link between Zika virus infection in pregnant women and subsequent birth defects.

DCLS does not determine whether individuals should be tested for possible exposure to Zikavirus. That determination is made by the Virginia Department of Health, which works with healthcare providers through its local health departments to determine if testing is necessary.

The FDA has not approved a commercially available diagnostic test for the detection of theZika virus. There is no vaccine for the virus, so health officials encourage individuals to avoid mosquito bites.

Currently, travel to Zika-affected areas outside of the continental United States is the primary way Virginians risk exposure to Zika virus. DCLS is represented on a statewide task force Governor Terry McAuliffe created to increase preparedness efforts prior to the start of mosquito season on May 1.


For more information about Zika virus, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov.


--
NOTE: Emphasis (Bolding) mine. ...CL

Hopefully ALL the states in "Mosquito Country" have affiliated laboratories set up and approved.