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Growing number of Zika cases have some families putting off having children

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - The growing number of Zika cases in the U.S. is causing some local families to put off having children. The Centers for Disease Control projects that infected mosquitoes could make their way into southwest Virginia this summer.

Joanna Heims, a mother of a two-year-old, says having children is one of the greatest joys in life. She wants another, but is putting pregnancy on hold due to increasing number of Zika cases in the nation.

"It's scary enough to be a mom; there are so many factors and things that can go wrong," said Heims. "For that to be another factor to put into play, it's terrifying."

Allison Durica, a maternal fetal medicine doctor at carillon Clinic, said Heims' concern is valid. As it gets hotter during July and August there is an increased chance mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus can come to our area.

"Greater risk is certainly going to be in the southern areas of the United States and along the coast," said Durica. "We are close enough to that area where we do fall within that."

The CDC states the virus is found in 40 states. The Virginia Department of Health reports there are 25 cases here in the commonwealth.

"These are not patients that have been directly bitten by a mosquito and become infected," commented Durica. "These are people that have come from a high endemic area and been diagnosed in our area."

Durica said other mothers have voiced the same concern.

"That's a lot of my friends," said Heims. "It's the age group I'm in. I do have a lot of pregnant friends. So, it is a concern for all of us."

Recent CDC guidelines state women that travel to high exposure areas have an increased risk of contracting the virus and should try to prevent pregnancy for eight weeks to minimize risk.

Same goes for a man. But, men who are actually diagnosed with Zika should wait at least six-months after their symptoms first appeared to have unprotected sex.