CDC widens travel warning over Zika virus

CDC widens travel warning over Zika virus
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is widening its travel alerts for countries affected by the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

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Federal health officials added eight nations to its travel warning list, which now includes 22 countries mostly in South America, Central America and the Caribbean. The list includes the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, as well as countries such as Mexico, Panama and Guatemala. 

Pregnant women in any trimester should avoid travel to areas where Zika virus has been reported, the CDC warned. Women who may become pregnant should ask their doctor before traveling to these areas, it added.

While the disease has mild symptoms for adults, it can be dangerous to pregnant women: The disease, which has spread rapidly across Brazil over the last year, is suspected of causing birth defects in thousands of babies there.

Several countries, including Brazil and Colombia, have asked women there to consider delaying becoming pregnant.

The CDC also announced that researchers are investigating a new link between the Zika virus and a rare disease called the Guillain-Barré syndrome, which causes paralysis.

Guillain-Barré syndrome has been reported in multiple Zika-infected patients in Brazil — a troubling sign that the potentially life-threatening condition could be resurging.