SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, Wednesday January 13, 2016 – Public Health Minister Altagracia Guzman has advised women to avoid getting pregnant because of the threat Zika virus could pose to their unborn children.
Her advice comes a month after doctors in Brazil made the same suggestion last month, after a Zika outbreak in that country was linked to babies being born with microcephaly, a rare neurological disorder in infants in which the size of the brain is abnormally small and serious developmental issues and sometimes early death occur.
The babies were born to mothers who had contracted the virus during pregnancy.
— PAHO/WHO (@pahowho) January 12, 2016
According to the Dominican Today, Guzman, who described the virus as a major threat, agreed with the Brazilian doctors.
She noted that the first three months of pregnancy is vital to the formation of the fetus and the disease in that period poses a high risk.
With the Dominican Republic having close contact and receiving travelers from some of the countries where cases have already been reported, the minister said as long as Zika remains a threat, women should take precautions to avoid getting pregnant.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has reported cases in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela.
Guzman also spoke of the need to use repellents containing methyl benzamine, amino-propionic acid and hydroxyethyl, which PAHO recommends.
Zika virus, which is transmitted to humans by infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, causes symptoms including light fever, rash, conjunctivitis and muscle pain.