The U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel warning to 14 countries and territories exposed to mosquito borne Zika virus. These countries are in Central and South America and the Caribbean. The travel advisory targets pregnant women and women who want to become pregnant. This follows reports that exposure to the Zika virus has been linked to birth defects in Brazil.
Zika exposure leads to babies being borne with a brain disorder known as microcephaly. Babies with this condition have small heads which results in developmental issues and in some cases death. While acknowledging that this is a fairly serious problem, Dr. Lyle Petersen, director of the CDC, said that due to the growing evidence that there is a link between Zika virus and microcephaly, it was very important to warn people as soon as possible. However, it isn’t yet clear if other risk factors are involved and more studies will need to be done in the future.
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Mike Dilkes MS FRCS(ORL-HNS), FRCSEd, FRCS
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