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The Ministries of Health of countries such as Honduras, Ecuador or Colombia are radvising women to avoid becoming pregnant during 2016 and, in some cases, like El Salvador also in 2017. The reason? The Zika virus, the spread of which is increasing cases of microcephaly in babies born to mothers who were infected during gestation.
The rapid spread of the virus has made all health agencies react, including the who who warns that the virus will reach all of America except Chile and Canada and advises pregnant women to consult with their doctor before and after visiting endemic areas.
Zika virus is caused by mosquito bites Aedes aegypti carrier of the disease and its symptoms are fever, muscle and joint pain, fatigue and skin rashes. In addition, in recent months it has been linked to the birth of babies with microcephaly, a neuronal disorder that causes the baby to be born with a smaller head than it should and that has no cure or treatment.
This virus is present mainly in countries of South and Central America and, not many cases have been known since the virus was first identified in 1947, but in recent months the number of people infected with Zika has increased alarmingly. So much so that in Brazil has evidence of almost 4000 cases of babies born with microcephaly. There is, according to experts, a direct relationship between microcephaly and Zika virus infection in mothers during the first months of pregnancy.
European and American health agencies and the WHO are already recommending pregnant women not traveling to countries with Zika cases, but preventive measures do not end here, the Ministries of Health of El Salvador, Ecuador and Colombia are calling on women to avoid becoming pregnant for now.
The measure has generated strong criticism, although the respective governments defend themselves saying that it is not about birth control measures but about health recommendations and that it is the parents who have the last decision.
Likewise, some associations in El Salvador, such as the Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Therapeutic, Ethical and Eugenic Abortion are calling for the decriminalization of abortion, a practice punishable by up to 40 years in prison, to prevent clandestine abortions in these cases.
Other preventive measures to avoid contagion during pregnancy are: use repellent, put mosquito nets on doors and windows and avoid water accumulation in pots and plants so that the mosquito that carries the Zika virus cannot reproduce
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