Ga. Doctors Urge Caution And Prevention Against Zika Virus | WABE 90.1 FM

Ga. Doctors Urge Caution And Prevention Against Zika Virus

The Zika virus is spreading rapidly in Central and South America, causing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a travel advisory.

The Zika virus may not cause many symptoms, but pregnant women with the disease could give birth to babies with abnormally small heads.

Many epidemiologists say it's only a matter of time before mosquitos in the U.S. will carry Zika.

“Think of the size of our country, the number of people that we have here, and getting the word out to everyone is quite a challenge,” said Dr. Nancy Hinkle, an epidemiologist at the University of Georgia. "It has to be done at the local level as well as nationally, so we all need to play a part."

That includes getting rid of places where mosquitos breed, like containers full of water, and wearing protective clothing.

Dr. Cherie Drenzek, state epidemiologist with the Georgia Department of Public Health, suggests people can exercise caution by “wearing long sleeves, wearing long pants ... ensuring that if at all possible that they’re inside -- that windows can be closed, or in air-conditioned areas so that there are screens that can protect them from mosquito bites."

State officials say there is currently no vaccine for the Zika virus, which has been around since 1947 but has only recently spread more widely.