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Timeline to delay pregnancy due to ZIKV could be extended

Tuesday, July 05, 2016 | 2:57 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – It is quite possible that the Ministry of Health’s advised timeline of six to 12 months for women to avoid becoming pregnant could be extended by another six months.

Speaking to editors and reporters at the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange yesterday, Chief Medical Officer Dr Winston De La Haye said a decision would be taken after a review in January, to determine whether the timeline to avoid getting pregnant should be extended.

“We certainly think persons should, where possible, avoid becoming pregnant and we will review it again in January of next year — at least for a further six months,” Dr De La Haye said. “It is the wise thing to do as we know more.”


The Ministry of Health in January urged Jamaican women to delay pregnancy for the next six to 12 months given the possible connection between the Zika virus infection and the neurological condition, microcephaly.

Researchers have since confirmed a link between the virus and microcephaly – a condition that results in babies being born with smaller than normal heads.

It has been reported that babies who develop microcephaly in the womb may not live to full term, may be born prematurely, may be still-born, or may survive but with a life-long disability.

“It’s a lot about ZIKV that we don’t know and quite a bit we have learnt in the last four, five months. So you need time in order to be able to apply that knowledge,” the chief medical officer said.

Dr De La Haye said up to last Friday, there were 24 confirmed Zika cases. Four pregnant women are among them.

Anika Richards

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