Health

Pregnant Women Are Being Told To Avoid These Countries Due to Zika Virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised pregnant women to stay away from 22 countries that have experienced recent outbreaks of the Zika virus. The mosquito-borne virus might cause newborns to be born with abnormally small heads, a rare condition known as microcephaly.

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While experts have not made a definitive connection between the Zika virus and microcephaly, one study linked the proliferation of the virus in Brazil to a rise in miscarriages in the country. The virus appears to be spreading internationally, raising concerns among public health agencies. Eight additional countries were added to the CDC's list of countries for pregnant women to avoid on Friday.

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The first local transmission of the Zika virus was reported in South America in May 2015. Now, the CDC is recommending that pregnant women avoid the following countries: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Martin, Suriname, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde, and Samoa.

"The Zika virus has been spreading rapidly over the past several months, most prominently in Brazil," Gawker reported. "What’s more, Brazil is in the midst of an unprecedented microcephaly epidemic, and people are pointing their fingers directly at Zika. In response, health authorities in several countries, including Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and Jamaica, have asked women to voluntarily consider delaying their pregnancies."

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"No specific antiviral treatment is available for Zika virus disease," the CDC reported. "Treatment is generally supportive and can include rest, fluids, and use of analgesics and antipyretics... In a pregnant woman with laboratory evidence of Zika virus in serum or amniotic fluid, serial ultrasounds should be considered to monitor fetal anatomy and growth every 3–4 weeks. Referral to a maternal-fetal medicine or infectious disease specialist with expertise in pregnancy management is recommended."