NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - The Health Department says month hundreds of pregnant New Yorkers have tested positive for Zika virus. At least a dozen babies in New York City have the virus. Five of those babies have the stunted brain deformity also known as microcephaly.
Dr. Jay Varma is deputy commissioner at the city's Department Of Health. This holiday season, he wants to remind women who may get pregnant, intentionally or unintentionally, that New York temperatures may take mosquitoes out of the air here, but in other parts of the world it is still a serious threat. He said that this winter is not the time to travel to the Caribbean, Latin America, or Mexico if you may get pregnant.
Here are the facts on Zika: 8,000 New Yorkers have been tested as of this month; 1,000 tested positive. Of that group about 350 are pregnant women. We have more than a dozen babies with either the virus or the congenital syndrome, and that number may go up because not all the pregnant women have given birth yet.
Earlier this year, Fox 5 visited the Department of Health staff trying to keep Zika from getting a foothold on our city. Dr. Varma candidly admitted how little was known about the dangers of sexual transmission at that time. He was right. Months later scientists would discover Zika can be passed on through sex months beyond the virus's life expectancy.
With New York being an international hub, we asked even if a New Yorker isn't travelling, he or she should know more about the travel history of their sexual partners. He responded that the health department distributes 38 million latex condoms a year. He said using condoms in sex will help prevent the spread of STDs, including HIV and Zika.