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Microcephaly in Brazil

07 Dec 2015

The Ministry of Health (MoH) for Brazil is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate an unusual increase in the number of cases of microcephaly (smaller than normal skull) among newborn infants in the northeast of Brazil.

The reason for the increase in this birth defect has not been identified as yet and requires further investigation. WHO has provided technical experts to assist the MoH in various areas, including the study of viruses transmitted by insects, monitoring of disease transmission and statistics.

Advices for Travellers

Avoidance of mosquito bites, particularly during daylight hours, is recommended. Due to the possible link between Zika virus infection and birth defects, pregnant women are urged to be particularly vigilant in preventing mosquito bites.

Bite avoidance measures include: covering up with clothing, the use of insect repellent and bed nets impregnated with insecticide. Reduction of mosquito breeding sites around hotel rooms/homes is advised for longer term stays.