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Doctors warn about travel to Florida for pregnant women after Zika virus

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Florida Department of Health officials confirmed Friday that four people infected with the Zika virus in the Miami-area got it from mosquitoes in the United States.

Until now, every reported case of Zika in the U.S. was travel related, including 21 in North Carolina, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It makes me kind of scared to go outside. I mean I know it’s not in North Carolina, but I don’t want to be one of the first cases in North Carolina,” says Winston Salem mom-to-be Emily Brittain.

Brittain is pregnant with twins and due in October. She says she has been following the Zika virus in the news ever since she and her husband Wes were invited to a wedding in the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos earlier this summer.

“I don’t want to put myself or my children at risk and I would rather be safe than sorry,” Brittain said.

Dr. Rick Taavon, physician at Wendover OBGYN in Greensboro, says this kind of concern by expecting parents is something he sees often.

“Very common concern especially this time of year with people in the summer doing more travel, Caribbean, Cancun, those are all very popular areas and of course Florida as well,” Taavon said.

Taavon says pregnant women or women who may want to get pregnant should not go to areas with Zika—that now includes the Miami-area in Florida.

“There's a lot of unknowns we don't know how often women who get infected or people who are exposed to mosquitoes will infect their babies,” Taavon explained.

Taavon says experts still don’t know exactly how long the virus will stay in a man or woman’s system or when it could impact an unborn baby.

Taavon’s advice is stay away from areas that are impacted by the virus. He also says it’s a good idea to take precautions at home like wearing bug spray, long sleeves and pants and emptying out any standing water around your home where mosquitoes breed.