Washington, DC—Mark S. DeFrancesco, MD, MBA, President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), released the following statement regarding the current Zika virus outbreak:
"ACOG recommends that all health care providers and patients follow the health advisory and travel advisory released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the Zika virus and its potential impact on pregnant women and their fetuses. Travel to regions with ongoing Zika virus outbreaks is not recommended for women who are pregnant or women who are considering pregnancy.
"There is much that we do not yet know about the Zika virus and its effects during pregnancy, for example whether pregnant women are of greater risk of infection than non-pregnant individuals. However, because of the associated risk of microcephaly, avoiding exposure to the virus is best. That's why pregnant women and women who are considering pregnancy should delay planned travel to areas where Zika virus outbreaks are ongoing.
"Moreover, women traveling to areas where Zika virus has been reported should take all precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including covering exposed skin, staying in indoor- or screened-in areas, and using EPA-approved bug spray with DEET (which is safe for use during pregnancy).
"Because some women may have traveled to affected areas prior to this advisory, obstetrician-gynecologists and other health care providers should ask all pregnant women about recent travel, and women who have traveled to these regions should be evaluated for Zika virus infection. Because there is no treatment for Zika virus at this time, women should be counseled about all options available to them. When possible, delivery at a center with the appropriate levels of neonatal expertise may be warranted.
"Of course, this is an evolving area. We encourage health care providers and patients to continue to monitor the CDC for updated information."
To read more, please visit ACOG's Practice Advisory on the Zika virus. For additional information, including links to additional resources, please visit Immunization for Women.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation's leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 58,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization. www.acog.org