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As Zika was beginning its devastating march North, Hillary Parsons was enjoying a cruise to Mexico: she was also 7 weeks pregnant.
“I was a nervous wreck,” said Parsons. “Absolutely. I was a nervous wreck.”
It wasn’t until after she returned that she learned about the potential risk to their now ready-to-be-born son.
“Wasn’t bit, thankfully… and didn’t have any signs nor symptoms, no repercussions for being in Mexico at that time, but it definitely weighed on my brain, quite a bit.”
And she’s not alone in worrying. Dallas County Health officials are monitoring 12 expectant mothers who may have been exposed to the virus while traveling.
“They’re paying attention to the news, they’re saying ‘is it in Texas yet–is it in Texas yet’,” said Sheila Chhutani, M.D. Dr. Chhutani is an OBGYN on the medical staff at Texas Health Dallas. She says much of what she does for her pregnant patients is dispensing calm.
But, she understands why families are worried.
“It’s coming. It’s not about if it comes, it’s about when does it get here.”
The doctor says she is also troubled by how much the medical community has yet to learn about the Zika virus—how it spreads and how long its impact may remain.
“We’ve got a vaccine for measles. We don’t have a vaccine for Zika. There’s no cure, no treatment. There’s nothing we can do to prevent this outside of the prevention of getting it.”
So she’s advising patients to avoid all travel to infected areas—and get in the habit now of preventing mosquito bites here at home.
Meanwhile, Parsons says she and her husband are simply blessed and thankful.
“We’re thankful every day for the pregnancy, the health pregnancy and healthy baby and I pray for all of those families that may not have been as lucky in this situation.”
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