The World Health Organization is now saying that women in Zika-afflicted countries should postpone pregnancy, but it's not saying for how long. (Photo: iStock)

It just keeps getting worse.

The Geneva-based World Health Organization announced on Thursday that people living in areas of the world afflicted by the should consider Zika virus delaying pregnancy.

The advice will undoubtedly be seen as frustratingly imprecise, since the group’s announcement doesn’t specify how long women should postpone pregnancies, a move that raises more questions than answers. 

“But it’s important to understand that this is not the WHO saying, ‘Hey everybody, don’t get pregnant,’” Nyka Alexander, a group spokesperson, told the The New York Times. “It’s that they should be advised about this, so they themselves can make the final decision.”  

The advice targets people in 46 countries throughout Central America, South America, and the Caribbean who may be considering having a baby in the near future. The virus, which is carried by mosquitoes and can be transmitted sexually, does not typically harm infected adults who only carry the virus temporarily, although in rare cases it has provoked paralysis and death.  

The most pressing issue the disease presents is the severe birth defects that it inflicts on the infants of infected women. Babies born with Zika often suffer from incomplete brain development and have abnormally small heads, a condition referred to as microcephaly.

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Jack Craver

 

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