Physicians and patients have growing concerns about the rapidly spreading Zika virus. A local OB/GYN is telling her pregnant patients to cancel all travel plans to anywhere impacted by the virus.
"I've had two people talk to me about wanting to go to Florida, vacations they have to Hawaii, to the Caribbean,” Dr. Rabiya Suleman said. "No travel to Florida, no travel to warm, humid areas, no travel to the CDC list of countries impacted.”
Zika is particularly dangerous for pregnant women because it can cause microcephaly, a neurological disorder that results in babies born with abnormally small heads.
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Soon-to-be mother Karen Logan is planning to go to Hawaii, but will reassess her plans based on the risk.
"If there was any risk of travel to a place where the Zika virus is widespread, we would cancel and not go. It's that frightening," Logan said.
It’s not just frightening for patients but for physicians. Suleman said there are many unknowns.
“We don't know how long it stays in semen, we don't know how long it's alive in other body fluids,” she said. “People are worried. People are worried about their babies, that's the No. 1 thing that moms are worried about."
The CDC has instructed doctors to add more testing and ultrasounds for women who could be infected.
Suleman hopes to have more information because hot and humid temperatures will soon return to KC.
“From a medical perspective, what we hope for, is for more information on what to do and what to expect,” Suleman added.
For most adults, the Zika virus is a mild illness that causes fever, rash and some joint paint for a few days. About one in five people infected with the virus will show symptoms. There have been several cases confirmed in the U.S. but none in Missouri or Kansas.
Lexi Sutter can be reached at email@example.com.