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Brazil advises women not to get pregnant because of a scary virus

newborn baby brazil zika virus microcephaly

A newborn baby in Brazil. (Flickr)

More than 2,400 children in Brazil were born brain damaged this year because of the Zika virus. The virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same mosquito responsible for yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya.

Till now, the Zika virus has been found mostly in northeast Brazil. It causes microcephaly, a neurological disorder marked by the newborn's head being significantly smaller than average. It often results in incomplete brain development, and sometimes early death.

Six states in Brazil have declared an emergency, and the Health Ministry is working overtime to help expectant mothers. 2,400 cases is mind-boggling, especially when you consider that microcephaly is usually rare. That's why Brazil is actually telling people to avoid getting pregnant and put off family planning for now.

World Health Organization has issued alerts in other Latin American countries too because the virus is not native to Brazil and probably came in during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The CDC is warning travelers, too.

The symptoms of the virus are fever, rashes, headaches, joint aches and nausea. It's basically a milder version of dengue fever and is generally not life-threatening and can be treated easily--that is, unless pregnant women are infected during the first trimester. Then it may cause microcephaly for the newborn child.

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Brazil advises women not to get pregnant because of a scary virus

Anugya Chitransh

Anugya is originally from New Delhi, India. She studied journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York, graduating with a master's in international reporting. She plans to travel one day to all the places she reads about. She likes reading fiction, pop music, and going to the beach, but absolutely hates anyone mangling or shortening her name (which is quite common). She binge watches Korean dramas and anime series. She's a freelance writer and has produced content that has appeared in NBC, The Times of India, Time Out Delhi, and other publications.

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