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CDC advices pregnant women to consider not traveling to Southeast Asia

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30 September 2016

In a travel advisory for pregnant women and those trying to get pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they should "consider postponing nonessential travel" to 11 countries, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, East Timor and Vietnam.

The CDC said for Singapore, pregnant women "should not travel" there.

The agency issued a stronger warning for Singapore compared to the rest of the region as Singapore was currently experiencing a large Zika outbreak, with 400 people diagnosed with virus since the end of August.

Zika was first detected in Southeast Asia back in the 1960's and according to scientists the virus had been circulating throughout the region since then.

According to Dr Denise Jamieson, chief of the Women's Health and Fertility Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, several countries had reported occasional cases or small outbreaks of Zika.

However, in the past month, health officials had  started to detect more Zika cases around the region. Apart from the outbreak in Singapore, cases had cropped up Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Thailand was currently investigating cases of microcephaly to check whether they were linked to Zika infection, the World Health Organization said yesterday.

"Although we believe the level of risk for Zika virus infection in Southeast Asia is likely lower than in Latin America - where the virus is spreading widely - we still feel there is some risk to pregnant women in Southeast Asia," Jamieson said, www.npr.org reported.





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