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Jamaica advises women to avoid pregnancy as Zika virus approaches

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i383 (Published 21 January 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i383
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

Zika, the mosquito-borne virus that has caused a public health crisis in Brazil after being linked to a sharp increase in birth defects, has spread rapidly across the Caribbean this month, prompting Jamaican health authorities to issue an unprecedented warning days before its expected arrival.

“The Ministry of Health is advising women to delay becoming pregnant for the next six to 12 months,” wrote Horace Dalley, health minister, in a public statement. He urged those who were already pregnant to take extra precautions to avoid being bitten.

Confirmation of the first infection in Haiti on 15 January had driven the Jamaican government to act, Dalley said later. The past week has also seen the virus confirmed in Barbados, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Guyana, and Saint Martin.1

“The Zika virus …

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