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Avoid getting pregnant while Zika threatens


Avoid getting pregnant while Zika threatens

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SANTO DOMINGO – Women in the Dominican Republic have been urged to avoid  getting pregnant due to the threat of the Zika Virus.

Public Health Minister Altagracia Guzman issued the warning due to the possibility that women infected with the virus could give birth to children with neurological and microcephaly deformations.

She said part of the first three months of pregnancy is vital to the formation of the foetus and the disease in that period poses a high risk.

Guzman said she agrees with a Brazilian doctor who recommends that women avoid pregnancy as long as the virus is present. Hundreds of cases of children born with microcephaly (small head), have been reported in Brazil, where their mothers contracted zika during pregnancy.

“Every woman of childbearing age and (those who are) sexually active must use mosquito nets because they have the possibility of having a pregnancy if it´s not planned,” Guzman said.

Health authorities here have been on alert for the possible arrival of the Zika virus, and have introduced prevention, control and vigilance measures.

“We are actively watching out to detect cases as early as possible and the measures that we are emphasizing are about vector (mosquito) control, eliminating breeding areas, to reduce contagion levels,” said Raquel Pimentel, general director of the Ministry of Health’s Epidemiology Division.

She said that the National Epidemiological Vigilance System (SNE) is working at full capacity given that the Dominican Republic has close contact and receives travellers from some of the countries where cases have already been reported.

Pimentel added that the Zika virus is present in the Americas region and clarified that the risk of it moving from one place to another was not determined by the distance between countries but by migration and an increase in the number of cases, “so as long as they are increasing in other countries, this enhances the risk of it affecting the country”. (CMC)