Across the state, researchers are ramping up efforts to combat the spread of the Zika virus, which was declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organization on Monday. UNC Health Care’s top priority is the safety of our patients across the state. While no cases of this mosquito-borne disease have been reported in North Carolina, we are learning everything we can about the virus as quickly as possible so that we can help develop a solution.
Our hospitals across the state are following the CDC’s guidelines and recommending that pregnant women, and women planning to get pregnant, avoid traveling to affected areas, as the Zika virus is thought to cause microcephaly, a neurological disorder in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and brains. UNC Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists are offering consultations to pregnant women who have recently traveled to affected areas.
It is important to remember that the mosquitos carrying the virus are not active year-round in North Carolina. This may help reduce the rate of transmission in our state. However, if you plan to travel to affected areas, please take precautionary measures, such as using insect repellent (DEET is most effective), wearing long pants and sleeves, sleeping under mosquito netting in endemic areas and avoiding the outdoors during periods of peak mosquito activity.
The transmission of the Zika virus is extremely serious. We want North Carolinians to know that UNC Health Care is prepared for the safe care of patients with highly communicable diseases. We will continue to update our co-workers and the general public with relevant updates as they become available.
To learn more about the Zika virus, please click here.