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Jamaican Government Advises Women To Delay Pregnancy Due To Looming Zika Virus

Update Date: Jan 21, 2016 10:50 AM EST

The mosquito-transmitted Zika virus casts a long and frightening shadow across the Caribbean and Latin American countries.

In an apparent bid to avert cases of microcephaly in babies, Jamaica's health ministry advised women to delay or avoid pregnancy for the next 6 to 2 months while health officials keep a close watch on the Zika virus outbreak that swept through its neighbors in recent months.

In addition, the government is also urging pregnant women to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Just like dengue fever and chikungunya, Zika virus is also transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquito.

According to a report by ABC News, while the island country has no registered cases of Zika-linked birth defects, the government fears a similar alarming surge that occurred in Brazil where 3, 500 babies were reportedly born with neurological damage.

However, Jamaica's Minister of Health Horace Dalley remarked that they can't stay complacent for it's just a matter of time before the mosquito-borne disease will hit the country as mentioned by US News and World Report. Confirmed cases in neighboring Haiti seemed to have strengthened this view.

As the likelihood of Zika outbreak inches closer to the island nation, Jamaican health authorities are also calling on every citizen to undertake self-help measures such as cleaning their surroundings, destroying the breeding sites of mosquitoes, and repairing household plumbing system as stated in a news article by Jamaica Observer.

In another note, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently issued a travel alert to American travelers to avoid certain countries in the Caribbean and Latin America where Zika virus outbreaks were documented.

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