WHO recommends delaying pregnancy in areas hard hit by Zika

The World Health Organization has issued guidance, recommending couples in regions where local Zika transmission is prevalent to consider delaying pregnancy, but does not specify a length of time for the delay.

Nyka Alexander, a WHO spokeswoman, told The New York Times the guidance "means delaying until we have more answers, more evidence, more science."

The guidelines will likely affect family planning for millions of couples across Latin America and the Caribbean. A recent study suggested as many as 5 million babies are born every year in this part of the world.

According to the Times, more than 1,500 babies have been born with microcephaly in Brazil — the nation hit hardest by the virus — since the beginning of the outbreak. Six other countries and U.S. territory Puerto Rico have also reported cases of Zika-related microcephaly that were the result of local transmission.

The new guidance has been well received by medical experts, including William Schaffner, MD, head of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn.

In the Times article, Dr. Schaffner described the WHO's guidance as "excellent" and added, "Now we just have to provide both the education and the means so that couples can implement."

Recently in a New Jersey, a woman infected with travel-associated Zika gave birth to a baby with microcephaly.

Nearly 2,000 cases of Zika have been confirmed in both U.S. states and territories. See where Zika has been reported in the U.S. as of June 10 here.

More articles on the Zika virus: 
Researchers on a medical road trip through Brazil are using mobile labs to track Zika   
WHO to rethink Zika travel recommendations for Olympics next week  
Study: Zika directly infects brain cells, subverts immune system 

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