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TREASURE COAST -
Women's Health Specialists 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," said 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 U.S., 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 the 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," said 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.
Women's Health Specialists' headquarters is located at 3498 N.W. Federal Highway in Jensen Beach. For more information, call (772) 219-1080 or visit www.whsfl.com.