The World Health Organization announced Thursday that women in 46 Zika-affected countries should consider delaying pregnancy to avoid giving births to babies with birth defects. The announcement will affect millions of couples and women across Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the U.S. territory Puerto Rico. The announcement comes after five countries have already issued their own advice suggesting women consider delaying, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. has declined to issue similar guidance for fear of intruding on personal decisions, according to The New York Times.
The WHO says men and women of reproductive age “should be correctly informed and oriented to consider delaying pregnancy.”
No vaccine is currently available for the Zika virus and efforts to eradicate the mosquitoes that carry the virus have failed to slow its transmission, according to the Times. Delaying pregnancy is therefore one way women in affected areas can avoid having children with severe brain damage. The Zika virus is expected to migrate to Texas and the Gulf Coast this summer.
Read the full story at The New York Times.