The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recently updated its guidelines concerning the testing of pregnant women who have a possible Zika virus infection or exposure. It must always be noted that most people with the Zika virus infection are either asymptomatic or have mild clinical symptoms. Mild clinical symptoms can be an acute onset of a fever, a rash, joint pain, and/or conjunctivitis.
There is new data suggesting that the virus can be detected in the blood and urine for 2 weeks after the infection begins. This testing of the urine and blood for the virus should be performed for:
- Symptomatic pregnant women in less than 2 weeks after the symptoms begin
- Asymptomatic pregnant women in less than 2 weeks after a possible exposure
After this 2-week window, blood testing should begin for the Zika virus IgM antibody, which the body makes in response to a new Zika virus infection. If this is found to be positive, there was definitely an infection and close fetal evaluation should begin.
As always, you should discuss the Zika virus problem with your health care provider so you can get the best possible care.
Over the past decade, there has been a large increase in the incidence of pertussis (whooping cough) in the United States, with over 40,000 cases being reported in 2012. What is of great concern is the large number of infants being affected.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that most pertussis hospitalizations and deaths occurred among children under 3 months old. Babies do not receive their first pertussis vaccine until two months of age, and they are not fully protected until after their third shot, which comes at about six months. Over the first six months of life our babies are at a high risk of getting very sick if they develop this bacterial infection.
In order to combat this new outbreak of pertussis, in January 2013, the CDC released a new immunization schedule. This recommended that a dose of Tdap vaccine be given to all women during each pregnancy whether or not she had received the vaccine previously. This was a change from their previous recommendations which suggested that the vaccine be given only to pregnant women who had never received this vaccine.