South American governments ask women to postpone pregnancy due to Zika virus epidemic

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    South America was overwhelmed by an epidemic of Zika virus transmitted by mosquitoes. Vaccines and cures for the disease do not yet exist. And, although the disease does not threaten the life of an infected person, doctors fear that there is a connection between it and cases of abnormal development of the brain of infants. Since the epidemic is currently at its peak, doctors recommend that women from areas of the epidemic suspend pregnancy if possible.

    Zika virus, which causes Zika fever, was first discovered back in the 1950s, when the disease appeared in the inhabitants of the equatorial belt in Africa and Asia. In 2007, 70% of the inhabitants of the Yap Islands fell ill with it. In 2014, the virus spread east through the Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia, then to Easter Island and in 2015 reached South America, Central America, the Caribbean and is currently considered a pandemic. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes when one individual first stings an infected person, and then a healthy one.

    Symptoms of the disease resemble a mild form of dengue or flu fever - headache, fever, rash, malaise, joint pain. But the symptoms go away within a week, and so far no deaths have been recorded (unlike the same flu), and most people generally endure it asymptomatically. In this regard, the disease was not taken too seriously, and did not work on the creation of vaccines or drugs. Recently, however, concerns have begun to arise regarding the development of human embryos.

    Increasing cases of infant microcephaly (an underdeveloped brain and a disproportionately small head) in areas with an epidemic of the disease have led doctors to suspect a connection between this phenomenon and Zika fever. In several cases, the virus that they received from the mother was found in the blood of infants. This happened when the mother became infected with the virus during pregnancy.

    Also, doctors are trying to establish or refute the presence of the virus with another serious disease - Guillain-Barré syndrome . This is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immunity affects its own cells. This disease can be fatal, but modern intensive care methods have reduced the number of such cases to 5%.

    In an effort to reduce the incidence of infant pathology, many South American governments are asking women not to become pregnant in at least the next few months. The government of the Republic of El Salvador generally requested not to have children until 2018. It is recommended that foreign tourists choosing travel routes temporarily not visit these countries.

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