The World Health Organization revises its Zika virus warning, urges sexual precautions
The World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday that the vast majority of pregnant women in areas affected by the Zika virus will deliver normal children. It also pointed out that the connection between Zika and birth defects has not yet been proven and that most people infected by the virus will not suffer any affects.
“We understand that there has been a large increase in ultrasound tests ordered by pregnant women and it is important to know that these examinations do not reliably detect cases of microcephaly,” a WHO statement said. Microcephaly is a condition of abnormal infrant brain developed that medical researchers in Brazil say could be linked to Zika.
Based on medical finding since the original Zika virus warning was issued three weeks ago, WHO urged that safe sex practices be used in areas affected by Zika. Two weeks ago, doctors in the U.S. found evidence that the virus could be transmitted through semen. Other findings suggested that it could also be transmitted through saliva and blood transfusions.
New cases of the Zika virus have been reported in about 30 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in China and Australia. The virus has been present in large areas of African and southeast Asia for years.
Although there is evidence of the link between Zika and microcephaly in Brazilian newborns, some recent information has questioned the linkage. WHO says it will continue to err on the side of caution until a link can be established or disproved.