Scientist: Zika virus outbreaks that impacted pregnant women have almost disappeared

Channel 2's Carol Sbarge looked into why the virus so prevalent a few years ago is almost gone.

ATLANTA — As spring and summer travel picks up, travel warnings for pregnant women are easing when it comes to the Zika virus.

The Zika virus isn’t dangerous for most people but it is very serious for pregnant women. That’s because it can cause severe birth defects. Now, travel restrictions have lessened for pregnant women as Zika virus outbreaks have almost disappeared.

Dr. Cherie Drenzek, an epidemiologist with the State of Georgia, said currently there is only one Zika outbreak in the world. That is in part of northern India. It’s a stunning change from four years ago.

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Drenzek said in 2015, there was a huge Zika outbreak that started in Brazil and spread in the Caribbean and the Americas, even to several places in the United States.


The virus that at one time prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to warn pregnant women not to travel to about 100 areas around the world has virtually disappeared for now.

Drenzek said one reason is that many people were infected with Zika virus and once you are, you can’t get infected again. She also said mosquito-borne illnesses can go in three to five year cycles so that could also be a factor.

About 80 percent of people who get Zika virus have no symptoms.

The CDC now recommends women who are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant talk to their doctor about potential trips.