El Salvador urges against pregnancies until 2018 as Zika virus spreads | Reuters

SAN SALVADOR El Salvador on Thursday urged women in the Central American nation to avoid getting pregnant until 2018 to avoid their children developing birth defects from the mosquito-borne Zika virus which has rampaged through the Americas.

The Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also known to carry the dengue, yellow fever and Chikungunya viruses. Health experts are unsure why the virus, which was first detected in Africa in 1947 but unknown in the Americas until last year, is spreading so rapidly in Brazil and neighboring countries.

Although research is still underway, significant evidence in Brazil shows a link between Zika infections and rising cases of microcephaly, a neurological disorder in which infants are born with smaller craniums and brains.

"We'd like to suggest to all the women of fertile age that they take steps to plan their pregnancies, and avoid getting pregnant between this year and next," said Deputy Health Minister Eduardo Espinoza.

He said the government decided to make the announcement because 5,397 cases of the Zika virus had been detected in El Salvador in 2015 and the first few days of this year.

Official figures show 96 pregnant women are suspected of having contracted the virus, but so far none have had babies born with microcephaly.

In Colombia, which has the second-highest Zika infection rate after Brazil, the government is also advising women to delay becoming pregnant, but only for six to eight months.

(Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Writing by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Richard Chang)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.


Updated Date: Jan 22, 2016 03:16 AM

Also Watch

IPL 2018: Royal Challengers Bangalore eye revival against Chennai Super Kings as 'Cauvery Derby' comes back to life
  • Thursday, April 26, 2018 In the Kanjarbhat community, a campaign against 'virginity tests' is slowly gaining ground
  • Tuesday, April 24, 2018 It's A Wrap: Beyond the Clouds stars Ishaan Khatter, Malavika Mohanan in conversation with Parul Sharma
  • Monday, April 9, 2018 48 hours with Huawei P20 Pro: Triple camera offering is set to redefine smartphone imaging
  • Monday, April 16, 2018 Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore interview: Sports can't be anyone's fiefdom, we need an ecosystem to nurture raw talent

Also See