Should Baltimore be worried about Zika?

Posted at 11:32 PM, Feb 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-05 06:54:52-05

4-year-old Mali is very excited to become a big sister.  Mom Amanda is 37-weeks pregnant.

"I am due February 22nd, although I seriously hope I go way before then," Amanda Margkrathok said.

She's heard about the explosive spread and outbreak of the Zika virus, and says it's alarming.

"It's very scary to know that this virus can cross that barrier and actually impact my child who is not even here yet," said Amanda.

The virus is linked to an alarming spike of babies being born with abnormally small heads and brains, a condition called microcephaly.  In Brazil alone there are thousands of cases.         

"It hasn't been proven to be associated with Zika virus, but it occurred at the same time as the Zika virus occurred, so there is a fear and a concern that there could be an association and this is being further investigated," Dr. Matthew Laurens with the Institute for Global Health at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicinesaid.

There is no vaccine, and no treatment for Zika, and it only causes symptoms in one out of 5 people infected.  The majority of cases were transmitted through mosquito bites.        

The virus has spread to at least 29 countries, mostly Central and South America, and the Caribbean.  An area the CDC has issued a travel alert for.

"Until we know more, that’s' the best course is to avoid travel, especially for pregnant women or women who are planning to become pregnant, avoid travel to where Zika is circulating,” said Laurens.

For Amanda, she says she's not taking any chances.      

"If you know that you're pregnant, and you don't want to take the chances of affecting your child, and you know that you're supposed to travel, taking that caution and saying, you know, is it worth it?  I personally know that I wouldn't,” Amanda said.

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