The zika virus which is linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil is spreading “explosively” and could affect as many as four million people in the Americas, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.
There is no vaccine or treatment for zika, which is like dengue and causes mild fever, rash and red eyes. An estimated 80 percent of people infected have no symptoms.
Zika is ‘strongly suspected’ to cause babies to be born with abnormally small heads and brains. So it is very serious for pregnant women if they are infected with the Zika virus.
Pregnant Kiwi women are being urged to rethink their Pacific and South America travel plans. Many travel agencies are now offering refunds.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee is advising all athletes that are pregnant or hoping to get pregnant in the near future not to travel to the Rio de Janeiro games in August.