Zika Virus a worry for valley residents

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The mosquito-born virus has been linked to babies born with a birth defect that causes small heads. (KFSN)

The outbreak of the Zika Virus is causing worry for residents in the Valley.

"We've been receiving calls from concerned parents, soon to be parents who have visited various parts of central or South America," Dr. Jared Rutledge with the Fresno County Health Department said. "Some have reported mosquito bites, others haven't, but the concern and urgency in their voice is very apparent."

Rutledge says his department has received dozens of calls and some people are choosing to take precautions. "Spouses that are traveling that don't want to put their wives at risk so the pregnant wife will stay in the county," Rutledge said.

Mother Matilde Lopez says it's scary to think about what could happen. "I think it's very harmful, especially to mothers," she said.

The mosquito-born virus has been linked to babies born with a birth defect that causes small heads. Right now, the county health department is only testing pregnant women who've been to the affected areas like central and South America and are also feeling symptoms such as fever and rashes.

For other mothers who don't feel symptoms, it's a waiting game. "We're reaching out to the OB's and the pediatricians emphasizing the need to take those head circumferences and documenting them," Rutledge explained. "So, that we can see any delayed impact on child development."

As the temperatures warm up, so does the likelihood Zika could spread because the valley is home to the mosquito that can spread the virus.

Because there is no known cure or vaccine for the virus, experts recommend you avoid travel to infected areas and use mosquito repellant to protect yourself.

Related Topics:
healthzika virusfresnohealthFresno
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