Good Shepherd Center for Women’s Health
Physician Says Zika no Cause for Alarm
LONGVIEW, TX (Wednesday, June 22, 2016) – Good Shepherd Center for Women’s Health physician James Dozier, MD wants to ensure East Texans that at this point, the Zika virus is no cause for panic in the region.
The board-certified OB/GYN said that although the Zika virus has caused a health crisis in many South American countries, pregnant East Texas women do not need to be overly-concerned about the virus at this time.
“Many of our pregnant patients have asked about the potential health risks related to the Zika virus. It’s clearly something that is on everybody’s mind,” Dozier said. “It’s important people realize that currently, the odds of a mother contracting the virus in East Texas are extremely unlikely.”
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, no one has contracted the Zika virus in Texas. As of June 14, 42 cases of Zika had been reported throughout the state, and 41 of those cases contracted while traveling abroad. The last patient contracted the illness after having sexual contact with someone who acquired the infection while traveling abroad.
Zika virus primarily spreads to people through mosquito bites. The virus can spread through blood transfusion and sexual contact.
If a woman or her spouse traveled to an area where the disease is prevalent, then contraception should be used for at least eight weeks after returning. Perhaps longer if the spouse was the one who visited the area.
Most people infected with the virus have mild or no symptoms. For those who do develop symptoms, illness is mild and typically lasts a few days to a week. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The primary concern with the condition is that Zika virus increases the risk of babies born with birth defects including Guillain-Barré syndrome and microcephaly after expectant mothers contract the virus.
“The healthcare community is watching the Zika virus closely, and if it becomes more prevalent in our area, our recommendations to women who are pregnant or may become pregnant may change,” said James Dozier. “For now, traditional mosquito precautions are sufficient.”
Those precautions include wearing long sleeved clothes or mosquito repellent with DEET, emptying outstanding water (i.e., planters, bird baths, etc.) and avoiding the outdoors at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
The Good Shepherd Center for Women’s Health is a Good Shepherd Medical Associates practice focusing on patient-centered, high-quality care for women. It offers comprehensive obstetric and gynecological services including annual wellness exams, personalized birth plans, prenatal care, hormone replacement therapy and incontinence treatment.