Protecting health workers from Zika transmission during labor: 5 things to know

Because large amounts of patient bodily fluid are present during labor and delivery, the CDC has urged healthcare workers aiding in labor and delivery to be extra vigilant in following infection control measures to protect themselves from possible Zika virus transmission.

Here are five things to know about how healthcare workers can protect themselves from Zika transmission during labor and delivery, from the CDC and JAMA.

1. Occupational transmission of Zika virus from patient to healthcare worker has not been reported, but workers should still be vigilant.

2. Standard precautions — including hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, safe injection practices and safe handling of potentially contaminated equipment or surfaces — are essential during labor and delivery.

3. Pregnant women lose an average of 500mL of blood during normal vaginal deliveries, and amniotic fluid volume can exceed 500mL. Both of these fluids have been shown to carry Zika virus.

4. Anesthesia professionals should wear gloves and a surgical mask and should use additional measures when large amounts of body fluids will be present.

5. If a healthcare professional is unprotected and gets splashed during delivery, they should report the incident to their organization and be assessed for Zika virus infection.

More articles on Zika:
CDC: Urine test is best for Zika infection detection
Governors urge Congress, Obama administration to strike a deal on Zika funding now
Experts design freeze-dried paper-based tool to diagnose Zika

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