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As Zika emerges as a danger to public health for women around the world, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest is providing San Diego County women with two of the most critical tools to reduce pregnancy-related Zika complications: education and reproductive health care.

We have made it a priority to screen women at our 13 health centers in San Diego County to determine if they are at risk for Zika after they or their partner have traveled out of the country. When they are at risk, we refer them for testing. Our health care providers also counsel women who are planning to travel to a Zika-affected region on the importance of birth control.

“As a leading reproductive health provider, Planned Parenthood knows firsthand that to combat Zika, we need to empower women with education and comprehensive reproductive health care,” said Janeen Burlison, senior director of quality health care at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest.

While Zika has been spreading rapidly by mosquitos in countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in Puerto Rico, people who live in the continental United States are also contracting Zika, mostly due to travel. There have been nearly 1,000 travel and sexually-transmitted cases confirmed in the continental U.S., including 55 right here in California as of June 29, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here is some critical information about Zika:

  • The Zika virus is mostly spread from mosquitos, but can also be spread from a pregnant woman to her baby and through semen during anal, oral, or vaginal sex.
  • At this time, there is no treatment or vaccine for Zika.
  • Most people with Zika don’t have symptoms. When they do, the most common ones are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Make sure you tell a doctor or nurse if you or your sex partner have any of these symptoms. Zika can also cause serious problems in pregnancy.