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Zika and pregnancy

There is a concern during pregnancy with the Zika virus has been linked to a birth defect called microephaly, which means a baby’s head is small and the child has a smaller than average brain. This can affect the child’s motor development and can cause learning disabilities.

How is Zika spread?

The Zika virus is primarily spread by the Aedes species mosquito. Reports of transmission through blood and sexual contact are being investigated. For Utah women who are not traveling to areas where the virus is spreading, the risk of getting a Zika virus infection is minimal. Avoiding travel to those areas is recommended.

What if I have to travel?

If a pregnant woman must travel to one of the affected countries, precautions should be taken. These include using mosquito repellent containing DEET, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and removing standing water. Pregnant women who traveled to those areas should watch for symptoms of infection including fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain, rash, and “pinkeye.” If symptoms are present, they should talk with their doctor and treat the symptoms, especially the fever. Not everyone has symptoms. A fever, with or without the Zika virus, during the first 30 days of pregnancy can cause other pregnancy problems. The fever should be treated to keep it below 101 degrees.


If women have questions or need the fact sheets on fever or DEET, you can visit MotherToBaby.org where we can help by phone (801-328- 2229), texting (844-999- 3525), or chat.