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Zika Virus: El Salvador Advises Women to Avoid Pregnancy

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Widespread health concerns have spiked after thousands of children were born with the dangerous birth defect, microcephaly, caused by the Zika virus.

by / Views 449 / January 28, 2016

In a stunning development in El Salvador, officials are advising women of reproductive age to avoid pregnancy until 2018 due to possible birth defects linked to the widespread Zika virus. Extreme measures are being taken after the El Salvador Health Department disclosed they had found 492 cases of the dangerous virus.

The advisory to delay pregnancy comes after thousands of babies in Brazil were born with a potentially fatal birth defect called microcephaly, where the brain and head are underdeveloped.

In Brazil, the government has called upon the military in a nationwide attempt to fight and eradicate the dangerous virus altogether. The heath minister said that the military and civil defense would be called in to help heath workers combat the virus. Marcelo Castro, the Brazilian Health Minister, said that the government plans to use 266,000 community health workers and 44,000 health agents to help eradicate the disease.

The Zika virus is known to be linked to a serious birth defect, microcephaly, where the head and brain are not fully developed at birth. Health concerns about the virus has spiked after thousands of children were born with this birth defect. Officials are also concerned that the virus may also be connected to a rare paralysis syndrome known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome. This rare syndrome is caused by an immunological response after an infection. The syndrome has been known to occur after other viral and bacterial infections such as influenza.

Zika virus travel alerts have also been issued in order to keep the disease from spreading. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued alerts to pregnant women traveling to countries such as Mexico, Brazil, and 20 others.

Recent reports surfaced that it was expected to spread across the Americas and into the United States. So far, the U.S. has seen 36 cases, most linked to travel in and around South America.

Although only one in five people infected with the virus shows symptoms, common symptoms include rash, fever, joint pain, and conjunctivitis according to the CDC. However, severe complications caused by the disease that require hospitalization are rare and most people are over the worst of the symptoms after one week.

Photo Courtesy of Arlingtonva.us

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