In St. Louis, fears over Zika are heightened after 15 people contracted the virus from mosquitoes in Miami. Doctors’ offices have been flooded with questions from expectant mothers.
In the United States, more than 1,800 people have traveled internationally, and came home with the Zika virus, according to the CDC. Expectant mother Sarah Fuhrmann refuses to be one of them. She's an instructor at Yoga Six St. Louis, who was planning a trip to Costa Rica for yoga teacher training. But then she discovered she was pregnant.
"Nope, going nowhere out of the country,” she says, "I thought about it, but then figured better safe than sorry."
Dr. Rosanna Gray-Swain, an OBGYN with BJC HealthCare, says Fuhrmann did the right thing. For pregnant women and their significant others, she recommends checking the CDC Zika map and not traveling to any regions where the virus has been found.
She emphasizes that men should also take precautions with travel plans, especially since those who contract the virus don’t always experience symptoms.
“Particularly work people tend to not think about it very much," she said. "If for a work trip they have to fly down to Miami for the weekend."
Gray-Swain realizes the canceled trips are a let-down for couples, eager to soak in the tropical sunshine before diaper changing and sleepless nights.
“That can be disappointing, both from a financial standpoint, and sort of giving up something you've been looking forward to, or seeing it as a sacrifice for your pregnancy that maybe you weren't planning on having to make,” she said.
But Fuhrmann, expecting her fourth child this November, easily sees the bright side.
"Giving birth to a human being is pretty awesome, so I have to worry about my baby now," she said. "There's always trips, so I can just do it later."
If you or your partner is pregnant and you've recently traveled to an area with Zika, talk your physician about getting tested for the virus.
For pregnant women who aren't traveling, doctors still recommend using an EPA-registered bug spray, since St. Louis's mosquitoes can carry West Nile and other viruses.