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Zika virus outbreaks prompt warnings to pregnant women

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 26 January 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i500
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

The rapid spread of Zika virus in the Americas, where there is little population immunity, is a major concern, especially given the possible link between infection during pregnancy and the congenital abnormality microcephaly, the World Health Organization has warned.

Margaret Chan, WHO’s director general, said, “Although a causal link between Zika infection in pregnancy and microcephaly has not been established, the circumstantial evidence is suggestive and extremely worrisome. An increased occurrence of neurological syndromes, noted in some countries coincident with arrival of the virus, adds to the concern.”

Travellers should stay informed about Zika virus and take measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, particularly if they are pregnant, WHO has said, but it is not recommending restrictions on travel to affected countries, which include Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Because of the possible heightened risk to …

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