World Health Organisation advised pregnant women not to travel to areas affected by the Zika virus outbreak. After an emergency committee meeting on the rapid spread of the mosquito-borne virus, the WHO said yesterday that the new advice was issued amid mounting evidence that Zika can cause birth defects.
Previous WHO guidelines issued after the first Zika emergency committee meeting on February 1st called for women to be warned of the risk of travel. WHO Chief Margaret Chan noted that link between Zika and microcephaly, a severe deformation of the brain among newborns, has not yet been definitively proven.
Chan described the latest research on Zika as alarming, including growing evidence that the virus triggers the severe neurological disorder Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which can cause paralysis or death in extreme cases. Nine countries have reported rising incidents of GBS with a strongly suspected link to Zika.
Two countries have registered a spike in microcephaly with a presumed connection to Zika, French Polynesia and Brazil, the hardest-hit country in the outbreak by far.