Precautions you can take to protect yourself from the Zika virus

By Tiffany Jackson | tjackson@wmbb.com

Published 02/05 2016 07:17PM

Updated 02/05 2016 07:18PM

As of Friday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is confirming 14 cases of the Zika virus in Florida. 
 
Governor Rick Scott is now requesting the entire state take immediate action to stay ahead of the possible spread of the virus.
 
Each of those cases were contracted outside of the country, so unless you have been to those areas with the outbreak there is no real threat.
 
At Emerald Coast Obstetrics and Gynecology, the calls kept coming in from women concerned about the recent Zika virus outbreak, but for most there is no reason to panic. 
 
"There's been 35 cases in the United States so far and all of those cases have been from people who have traveled to South America and Central America," said Justo Maqueira, Emerald Coast OB/GYN.
 
The Zika virus is contracted through mosquitoes. The illness is generally mild with a rash, fever and joint pain, but for an unborn baby, there are much more serious side affects.
 
"The transmission of the virus to the fetus can cause Microcephaly, which is caused by lack of development of the brain. So you have brain dysfunction and lack of growth of the brain," said Dr. Maqueira.
 
Even though no mosquitoes have tested positive for Zika in our country, there are still precautions you can take to stay ahead of the possible spread.
 
"First of all, not going to places where the Zika virus has been found," said Dr. Maqueira.
 
also here at home, basic mosquito prevention techniques can help like draining any standing water around your home.
 
"Having standing water around your home is ground for raising thousands upon thousands of mosquitoes," said Cindy Mulla with Panama City Beach Mosquito Control.
 
As far as testing for the virus goes, Dr. Maqueira said it's really not necessary unless you have been to the affected areas.
 
"There is testing that can be done, but it's done at the CDC so there's no commercially available testing to see if you do have the Zika virus. We're not recommending that everybody that's pregnant get tested, because that can't be done," said Dr. Maqueira.
 
For more information on the virus, click here.

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