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Pregnant Women Advised to Avoid Travel to Mexico, Central/South America and the Caribbean Due to Emerging Virus

BY MARCUS THYGESON, M.D, M.P.H. -- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a Travel Alert warning travelers to avoid 14 countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean because of a mosquito-transmitted virus infection called Zika.

Women infected with Zika early in pregnancy are giving birth to babies with a condition called "microcephaly" (small head) that results in severe developmental delay and early death. If you are or could be pregnant, it is highly inadvisable to travel to one of these countries at this time.

Women considering getting pregnant should consult their doctor if planning to travel. All travelers should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

For more information, read this article in the New York Times and the official guidance from the CDC.

Marcus Thygeson, M.D., M.P.H., is senior vice president and chief health officer at Blue Shield of California

Editor's Note: This post was first published on our internal blog, but we felt we should share it externally given the implications for our members. - SB