Health officials may warn pregnant women against traveling to countries with Zika virus

Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C) may issue a warning to pregnant women against traveling to Latin American and Caribbean countries where the Zika virus is being spread by mosquitoes. The virus first appeared in South America in May, and in most cases only causes mild rashes and fevers. When contracted by pregnant women, however, the Zika virus appears to cause microcephaly, a condition in which infants are born with abnormally small heads and damaged brains.

Though it is not understood how the Zika virus causes microcephaly, some disease specialists have advocated for travel warnings. The C.D.C. will not make a final decision until Thursday or Friday. The travel warning would primarily apply to Brazil, which has seen a surge in babies born with microcephaly, but may soon encompass much of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Though there are no reports of locally transmitted Zika virus cases in the U.S., the C.D.C. has confirmed at least eight instances of Zika virus in citizens returning from abroad. As precautionary measures against the virus, health officials recommend applying insect-repellant creams, wearing long sleeves and pants, using air conditioning or window screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

Read more at the New York Times.

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