Officials: Pregnant women should be tested for Zika - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Officials: Pregnant women should be tested for Zika

The affects of Zika on a growing baby can be impaired development, delayed motor skills, and brain injuries.(Source: WALB) The affects of Zika on a growing baby can be impaired development, delayed motor skills, and brain injuries.(Source: WALB)
DPH put together information packets outlining everything they know so far about Zika.(Source: WALB) DPH put together information packets outlining everything they know so far about Zika.(Source: WALB)
Dr. William Grow, District Health Director (Source: WALB) Dr. William Grow, District Health Director (Source: WALB)
Courtney Sheeley, DPH Communications Specialist (Source: WALB) Courtney Sheeley, DPH Communications Specialist (Source: WALB)
LOWNDES CO., GA (WALB) -

As Georgia health officials prepare for the Zika virus to come into our state, they are urging expecting parents to be on high alert for mosquitoes.

The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed 14 cases of locally transmitted Zika in Miami, Florida.

"Right now it's just in Florida, but mosquitoes don't just stay in Florida," said District Public Health Director, Dr. William Grow.

South Georgia public health officials are already jumping into action.  

"South Florida is not that far from South Georgia and North Florida. We are really trying to get this information out," explained Dr. Grow.

The Department of Public Health put together information packets outlining everything they know so far about Zika. Those packets will be given out to all physicians.

"We're going to take tool kits to the different offices throughout our district to make sure that these physicians are seeing and have the information on hand that they need," explained Sheeley. 

Information that's especially crucial for pregnant women. The CDC issued a health advisory urging all pregnant women to be assessed and potentially tested for the Zika virus.

"You have to have been exposed to Zika in some form or fashion to actually be tested for the disease," said Courtney Sheeley, District Public Health communication specialist.

Not all pregnant women will be tested for Zika. After answering questions during the assessment, the physician will decide if a Zika test is necessary. 

Sheeley said there is only one lab in the state certified for Zika testing and they are already overwhelmed with the number of test coming in.

"Therefore, we can not just take anyone and everyone," explained Sheeley, "We have to make sure they have had a possible exposure to Zika to test them." 

The affects of Zika on a growing baby are serious, things like impaired development, delayed motor skills, and brain injuries.

"They basically have a very, very, very, small brain," Dr. Grow explained. 

Right now, doctors don't have a cure for these potential impairments. So, physicians say it's crucial for pregnant women to be aware of the virus. 

"If you've had exposure [know] what you should do as a mother, a potential mother, and/or a potential father. There's nothing more critical than a child," said Dr. Grow. 

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