HOUSTON, July 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Texas Children's Pavilion for Women, one of the nation's premier facilities for women's, fetal and newborn health, is excited to announce a first-in-Texas Zika clinic to ensure that as the virus continues to be a global concern, pregnant women at risk of contracting it have access to a team of experts who can provide the latest testing and monitor their pregnancies.
Run by the hospital's maternal-fetal medicine experts, the clinic operates every Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and will see pregnant women who have traveled to Zika-affected countries, have shown symptoms of the Zika virus, or have partners who traveled to Zika-affected countries and/or have shown symptoms of the Zika virus.
Transmitted primarily through mosquito bites, the Zika virus has heightened concern among pregnant women as it may increase the risk of microcephaly, a rare neurological birth defect that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and have abnormal brain development. Emerging research is also linking the virus to other birth defects. As of July 14, 400 pregnant women in U.S. states and D.C., and 378 in U.S. territories have been confirmed to have lab-evidence of a Zika virus infection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Learn more about how to prevent mosquito bites during pregnancy.
"It's crucial we have a Zika clinic at the Pavilion for Women for our patients and community," said Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist and vice chair of research in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas Children's and Baylor College of Medicine. "In an emerging disease, where new evidence arises daily, having a dedicated group of providers who can keep up with large amounts of crucial information, understand what testing to perform, and discern clinically important information and how to readily apply it is critically important."
In addition to blood, urine, amniotic fluid tests and counseling, the Zika clinic offers a targeted diagnostic ultrasound that can be performed as early as 15 weeks into pregnancy to determine if there are any concerning developmental signs for Zika infection in a fetus. Physicians and staff at the clinic are thoroughly prepared to safely and confidently treat any patient who exhibits symptoms of the Zika virus.
The Zika clinic at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women is the direct outcome of a task force assembled earlier this year under the guidance of Texas Children's Obstetrician and Gynecologist-in-Chief Dr. Michael Belfort and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Division Director Dr. Gary Dildy. The task force developed management and research strategies based on important screening criteria outlined by the CDC for pregnant women who may have been exposed to the Zika virus. The clinic is staffed by a registered nurse, medical assistant and a team of maternal-fetal medicine experts including Aagaard, Dr. Catherine Eppes, Dr. Martha Rac and Dr. Magda Sanz-Cortes.
Located on the third floor of the Pavilion for Women in the Baylor Obstetrics and Gynecology clinic, pregnant women can be referred to the Zika clinic via their obstetrician by completing an online referral form at http://women.texaschildrens.org/zikareferral or by calling 832-824-7500 and selecting option 3 for "new patient."
For more information about the Zika virus, visit https://www.cdc.gov/zika/.
About Texas Children's Hospital
Texas Children's Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children's hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children's has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women's health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Tower for pediatric research; Texas Children's Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children's Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children's Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation's first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that's channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children's Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.
Veronika Javor Romeis
SOURCE Texas Children's Hospital