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Pregnant women warned of travel to Zika-hit countries

January 18, 2016

Ahead of the 2016 Olympics, Brazil has advised pregnant women to seek medical advice before traveling to the country. The US has issued travel warnings, while Jamaica says women should postpone plans to become pregnant.

More than 3,500 cases of microcephaly have been documented
Image: Getty Images/M. Tama

Brazil's Health Ministry on Monday advised pregnant women to consult their doctors before traveling to the South American country, adding that no further measures were necessary with regards to the Zika virus.

The ministry's announcement comes eight months before Rio de Janeiro hosts the Olympic Games.

More than 3,500 cases of microcephaly - a rare condition in which newborns have smaller heads than normal - have been documented in the country since the outbreak of the mosquito-born virus, with growing evidence linking the two.

Brazil's Health Ministry added that US officials' travel warning served to reinforce measures taken by the country.

On Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said pregnant women should not travel to some 14 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Brazil, Mexico and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

"Until more is know, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant," said a statement from the government agency.

Meanwhile, Jamaican Health Minister Horace Dalley said women should delay plans to become pregnant for the next six to 12 months due to the possibility of infection.

Jamaica has yet to document a case of infection. However, the health minister said it was a matter of time before the dengue-like virus would make its way to the island.

ls/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters)