West Nile virus cause serious medical problems for pregnant women

Women’s Health Specialists, the name trusted by thousands of women for wellness, is urging women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant to take extra vigilance in protecting themselves from the West Nile virus during the current national outbreak of the virus.

Preventive measures are recommended during mosquito season or any time there is a West Nile virus outbreak. “The best way to avoid contracting the West Nile virus is to protect yourself against mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, so extra vigilance is required at these times,” said Pedro J. Cruz, MD, FACOG, Women’s Health Specialists. “While outdoors, long pants and long sleeves will minimize skin exposure and the chances of being bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus. Applying permethrin to clothing (not skin) can further reduce the risk of insect bites. Pregnant women should consult their personal physician before using any insect repellant on their skin,” added Dr. Cruz.

Most people who are bitten by mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus show no symptoms. However, symptoms that may be displayed include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. No specific treatment for West Nile virus exists, and the consequences for West Nile virus infection during pregnancy have not been well defined. For these reasons, screening of asymptomatic pregnant women for West Nile virus infection is not recommended.

In one confirmed case in the United States a mother passed West Nile virus to her unborn baby and in that case, the child was born with serious medical problems. “In that particular case, it is not known whether the problems were caused by West Nile or by other factors. Since the evidence shows it is possible to pass West Nile virus to an unborn child, pregnant women should take immediate steps to reduce their risk of mosquito bites. If West Nile virus illness is diagnosed during pregnancy, a detailed ultrasound examination of the fetus to evaluate for structural abnormalities should be considered no sooner than two to four weeks after onset of West Nile virus illness in the mother, unless earlier examination is otherwise indicated,” concluded Dr Cruz.

For nearly 40 years, Women’s Health Specialists’ highly regarded and modern OB/GYN practice has provided a full range of healthcare services to women through all stages of their lives, through puberty, child-bearing ages, and menopause and beyond. The Women’s Health Specialists’ professional team consists of obstetricians and gynecologists, certified nurse-midwives, nurses and support staff. Services include wellness exams, prenatal care, menopause management, cancer screening and prevention provided in a personalized and comfortable environment from headquarters located adjacent to the Treasure Coast Square mall in Jensen Beach, Florida, with branch offices in Okeechobee and Saint Lucie West.

Women’s Health Specialists’ headquarters is located at 3498 N.W. Federal Highway in Jensen Beach, Florida; (772) 219-1080; http://www.whsfl.com.

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