It has come to light that Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy can result in trans-placental transmission to the fetus along with fetal death, congenital microcephaly, and/or Central Nervous System (CNS) malformations. There are projected to be >9,200,000 births annually in countries with ongoing ZIKV transmission. In response to the ZIKV threat, the World Health Organization (WHO) is strategically targeting prevention of infection in pregnant women and funding contraception in epidemic regions. I propose that the damaging effects of ZIKV can be reduced using a seasonal window of opportunity for conception that may minimize maternal exposure. Like other acute viral infections-including the related flavivirus, dengue virus (DENV)-the transmission of ZIKV is anticipated to be seasonal. By seasonally planning pregnancy, this aspect of pathogen ecology can be leveraged to align sensitive periods of gestation with the low-transmission season.
Martinez, M. E. (2016). Preventing Zika Virus Infection during Pregnancy Using a Seasonal Window of Opportunity for Conception. PLoS Biology, 14(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002520