World health agency expects Zika virus, linked to birth defects, to reach US – Los Angeles Times

For Gleicy Oliveira, the public health warnings about the Zika virus came too late.

Her son, Guilherme, was born in October with a severe birth defect known as microcephaly — “small head” — that has been linked to the mosquito-borne virus now spreading through the Americas.

“It was only after he was born and swiftly taken away from me for emergency treatment that we understood that it was Zika,” Oliveira said.

This week the World Health Organization said the virus is likely to reach the United States and all the other countries of the Americas except Canada and Chile — every place that has the Aedes mosquitoes that carry the virus. Pregnant women have been urged to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

The best way to avoid microcephaly is not to get pregnant, and the government in El Salvador took the unprecedented step of advising the population to put off having children for two years.

In Brazil, the country hardest hit, health authorities said they plan to deploy 220,000 members of the military on a single day in February to distribute pamphlets across the country to educate people about the risks posed by mosquitoes.


Write a Reply or Comment:

Your email address will not be published.*