IS COSTA RICA SAFE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN?

Costa Rica is one of the most touristic places in America, with many visiting the country throughout the year. The tourism industry in Costa Rica was a threatened zone because of the Zika Virus that started to affect both the locals as well as the tourists. The Zika Virus is a notifiable situation in Costa Rica in the year 2021, which can provide a clear idea regarding the effects of the virus in the country that is famous for tourism.

Effect of Zika Virus on Pregnant Women in Costa Rica

Zika Virus is a tropical mosquito-borne viral infection that has appeared in Costa Rica. Zika Virus causes a viral infection that has mild effects on the person catching the virus. People affected by the virus don’t know they have it so that is the reason behind the fast flow of the virus in Costa Rica.

Mosquitos carry the virus from the host body and transmit it to another person. You can avoid Zika Virus infection by minimizing mosquito bites, staying indoors, wearing shirts with long sleeves, and using mosquito repellants. There is no cure for the virus, the only effective method at the moment is taking proper rest, and precautions.

Pregnancy and Zika Virus:

Zika Virus might not be serious for a normal person but the virus is a cause of major concern for pregnant women. The Zika virus can be passed on from a pregnant woman to their baby inside their womb. The effects can be more severe as the Virus can cause Microcephaly. A defect that is caused during birth and even causes other problems to the brain of the baby. The virus transmits through the bite of mosquitoes and also from having sex. The CDC has recommended precautions for people that are traveling to Costa Rica or residing in Costa Rica. Tourists traveling to Costa Rica must take into consideration the following steps to prevent a Zika infection. They are as follows:

  • Any pregnant woman should avoid traveling to the highly Zika Virus affected areas of the country due to the serious effects of the Zika in pregnant women. 
  • Traveling groups traveling to Costa Rica should avoid mosquitoes bites. The travelers should continue taking the necessary precautionary methods even after returning from their trips for a certain period, to prevent the spread of the virus in their locality. 

The Special Groups and their Specific Precautions:

CDC made special recommendations for 3 Special groups of people. The 3 groups are (1) women who are pregnant, (2) partners of pregnant women, (3) couples considering having a child or getting pregnant. 

  • The first special group that should take maximum protection in pregnant women. Pregnant women should not travel to any part of Costa Rica that is 6,500 feet below as the spread of the virus is more distinct in those areas. However, if pregnant women have to travel, then they must consult their doctors before traveling.

Important steps to follow

  1. Taking strict measures to prevent infection from the bite of mosquitoes.
  2. Following steps for the prevention of sexual transmission at the time of the trip.
  3. Talking to the doctor regarding any possible Zika virus exposure during each visit for paternal care. 

  • The second group of people is travelers having a pregnant partner. If the traveler went to Costa Rica or is planning to travel to Costa Rica the use of mosquitoes repellent is important. After returning, the partners must use a condom during intercourse during the entire period of pregnancy to avoid an infection.
  • The third group of people is the couples that are considering the idea of having a child. Such a couple is recommended to consult any doctor specialized in the field and discuss the idea of getting pregnant keeping in mind all the risks that are associated with the Zika Virus and pregnancy. During their travel, the couple must take preventive measures to prevent mosquito bites. The couple must wait for 6 months after returning, before conceiving and prevent having sexual intercourse or use condoms having sex. A woman whose male partner did not travel usually has to wait for 2 months before conceiving but a man who has traveled has to wait for a longer period as the Zika Virus can remain in the semen for a longer period and can transmit the virus during sexual intercourse. 

Conclusion

Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful places in America, making it perfect for tourism, but the Zika Virus has had a major impact on the tourism industry in Costa Rica. The virus has had minor effects on normal individuals but has a major negative impact on pregnant women making it very unsafe for them and the child in their womb. If any pregnant woman has to travel to Costa Rica, then she must follow all the preventive measures that have been suggested.

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