El Salvador advises women to delay pregnancies due to virus

January 21, 2016
This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. On Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, U.S. health officials are telling pregnant women to avoid travel to Latin America and Caribbean countries with outbreaks of a tropical illness linked to birth defects. The Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites from Aedes aegypti and causes only a mild illness in most people. But there’s been mounting evidence linking the virus to a surge of a rare birth defect in Brazil. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)

This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. On Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, U.S. health officials are telling pregnant women to avoid travel to Latin America and Caribbean countries with outbreaks of a tropical illness linked to birth defects. The Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites from Aedes aegypti and causes only a mild illness in most people. But there’s been mounting evidence linking the virus to a surge of a rare birth defect in Brazil. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP)

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Public health officials in El Salvador are advising women to put off pregnancies for the next two years to avoid passing on complications from the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

Vice-minister of public health Eduardo Espinoza said Thursday women who are already pregnant should stay covered outdoors to reduce the risk of mosquito bites. There are 96 suspected cases of pregnant women with the virus in El Salvador.

Some countries with Zika, such as Brazil, have seen spikes in the number of cases of microcephaly, a rare brain defect in babies. The infants tend to have smaller than normal heads and their brains do not fully develop.

The announcement in El Salvador came at the launch of an anti-mosquito campaign. The same mosquito also transmits the fever-inducing dengue and chikungunya viruses.

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