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Author Topic: US Health Officials Issue Guidelines to curb Zika Virus mosquito-borne infection  (Read 666 times)

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U.S. health officials have issued new guidance for women who might have been exposed to the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne infection that can cause brain damage in a developing fetus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday warned that the virus is spread through mosquito bites, and there are no vaccines to prevent the spread nor drugs to treat those infected.
The agency issued a warning to pregnant women to avoid travel to 14 countries and territories in the Caribbean and Latin America affected by the virus. Those countries are Puerto Rico, Martinique, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Brazil, Colombia, French Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Mexico.

It said that while there is no evidence to suggest that pregnant women are more susceptible to Zika virus infection, they can be infected in any trimester.

"We are quite concerned about the potential complications to the fetus of a Zika virus infection of pregnant women, and so we really are advising that pregnant women seriously consider postponing travel to these areas if possible," said Dr. Beth Bell of the CDC.

Exposure, repellents, screens

Pregnant women traveling to impacted areas should take precautions to limit their exposure to mosquitoes, the agency said.

"Mosquitoes bite not just at night, but also during the day,? Bell said. ?And so the measures that people need to take to prevent mosquito bites, they have to use all the time, not just at night."

Travelers also are advised to stay in places with screens on their doors and windows, wear protective clothing and use insect repellents such as DEET.

The virus has been linked to a rising number of cases of microcephaly, a condition associated with small head size and brain damage. Brazil and Colombia lead the countries with the most reported infections, but it is spreading rapidly in neighboring countries.


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