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Worries about the impact of Zika virus infection on pregnant women are increasing. This is due to the possibility of transmission to the fetus in the womb
Zika virus infection in pregnant women is associated with several congenital and neurological disorders in infants. To minimize the risk of being infected with the Zika virus, pregnant women need to maintain cleanliness and he alth.
Risk to Fetus
The Zika virus is generally transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.This type of mosquito is also known as a carrier of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), yellow fever and chikungunya. Zika virus infection generally causes only mild symptoms, even some are asymptomatic.
Symptoms that appear when infected with the Zika virus can be:
- Joint pain.
- Muscle pain.
- Red eyes.
Complaints due to Zika virus infection usually last from a few days to a week. Not many require hospitalization or death from Zika virus infection.
However, the concern that arises is when Zika virus infection attacks pregnant women. Zika virus infection in pregnant women is associated with the possibility of the fetus experiencing microcephaly, which is a congenital abnormality in which the brain does not develop properly and makes the baby's head size smaller than a normal fetus.This condition can trigger seizures and stunted growth.
In some cases, the Zika virus in pregnant women causes babies to be born with imperfect brain structures. Visual and hearing impairments as well as poor growth and development also occur. But so far, it is not known with certainty what gestational age is most susceptible to Zika virus infection.
In addition to microcephaly, Zika virus infection in pregnant women is also associated with triggering Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder that can lead to paralysis and even death. This syndrome causes the immune system to attack nerve cells, causing weakened muscles around the arms, legs, and respiratory muscles. Even so, until now, there is still further research on the relationship between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Transmission Through Sexual Intercourse
Now the awareness of Zika virus infection is being increased after it is known that this virus can also be transmitted through the exchange of fluids from sexual intercourse.In addition, Zika virus is also found in blood, urine, amniotic fluid, saliva, including brain fluid and spinal cord.
Most of the reported cases of Zika virus transmission through sexual contact are from men to women. Until now there have been no reports of cases revealing transmission through sexual intercourse from women to men.
In addition to being at risk of transmitting, it is no less important to provide information to their partners about the possibility of transmitting Zika virus infection through sexual intercourse.
Both men and women who have recently traveled from areas where the Zika virus has spread, are required to practice safe sex using condoms or avoid sexual intercourse for eight weeks. Meanwhile, men who experience symptoms of Zika virus infection are required to use a condom every time they have sex or avoid it for at least six months.
For those of you who are planning a pregnancy, it is advisable to postpone trying to conceive for at least eight weeks after being exposed to the Zika virus.
Proper Handling Method
Usually about a week after the first day of symptoms appear, the Zika virus will soon disappear from the bloodstream. Although for some people, this virus can last longer. Diagnosis of Zika virus infection is based on symptoms and recently visited infected areas. To confirm the infection, laboratory tests can be done to see the presence of the Zika virus in the blood.
In dealing with Zika virus infection, the treatment given by doctors is based on the symptoms that appear. In addition, patients will be asked to rest a lot and consume lots of fluids to prevent dehydration.
The drugs given are generally aimed at relieving the symptoms experienced. For example paracetamol, to reduce pain and fever. If necessary, the doctor will give medicines through intravenous fluids, especially in more severe conditions.
Pregnant women should postpone visits to countries or areas that are being hit by Zika virus infection. For people who are forced to do so, they must take steps to prevent mosquito bites by:
- Using long sleeves, trousers or clothes that cover the body well.
- Using mosquito repellent.
- Use mosquito nets or other tools that can repel mosquitoes while sleeping.
In addition, the Ministry of He alth of the Republic of Indonesia also recommends prevention efforts in the form of the 3M Plus movement, namely draining, closing and utilizing or recycling used goods. It is also recommended to sprinkle larvicide powder on each water reservoir.
If you are a pregnant woman who has just returned from a country known to be infected with the Zika virus, pay close attention to your he alth condition. Immediately consult a doctor if you suspect symptoms of Zika virus infection.