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El Salvador Advises Against Pregnancy Until 2018 Over Zika Virus Birth Defect Fears

Accepted submission by takyon at 2016-01-25 02:19:51

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a travel alert [] for 14 nations affected by the mosquito-borne Zika virus []. One of those nations, El Salvador, is recommending against pregnancy [] due to a risk of birth defects suspected to be caused by the virus []:

The entire region has erupted with concern over the virus [], and each country has taken measures to combat its spread. Other Latin American countries, such as Colombia and Ecuador, as well as Jamaica in the Caribbean, have recommended delaying pregnancies, though not for an entire two years.

The rest of Latin America has responded with different tactics, ranging from widespread fumigation efforts to directing citizens not to be bitten by the Aedes mosquito, which is known to carry yellow, chikungunya and dengue fevers.

So far, the hardest hit nation in the region has been Brazil [], where more than a million cases have been confirmed, including nearly 4,000 cases of microcephaly [] in newborns that could be linked to Zika. Microcephaly [] is a rare, incurable condition in which an infant's head is abnormally small.

Brazil has announced its plans to control the Zika virus [] while continuing to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro:

Inspections of Olympic facilities will begin four months before the Games to get rid of mosquito breeding grounds. Daily sweeps will also take place during the Games. But fumigation would only be an option on a case-by-case basis because of concerns for the health of the athletes and visitors.

The Brazilian health ministry says it is also banking on the fact that the Games are taking place in the cooler, drier month of August when mosquitoes are far less evident and there are considerably fewer cases of mosquito-borne viruses.

Related: Genetically-Modified Mosquito Company Expands Operations []

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