Deciding just the right time to get pregnant can be a complicated equation, impacted by physical, mental, and professional considerations. For Brazilian families, the time to procreate, at least according to the country’s health officials is NOT now. The reason: a mosquito-borne virus that was recently detected in Brazil for the first time this year and is now believed to be the reason for increasing rates of a devastating disorder in newborns. Believed to be introduced via tourists who attended the 2014 World Cup, the Zika virus has coincided with a surge in the number of cases of newborn microcephaly, a neurological disorder that affects brain development. Last year’s rates of microcephaly included 147 cases; this year there are more than 2,400. Although the scientists have not established a definitive link between the mosquitoes and the disease, most of the mothers of children born with microcephaly experienced the symptoms of the Zika virus early in pregnancy, such as mild fever, rash, and headaches. Microcephaly, which affects the brain and the size of a baby’s head, results in often serious developmental issues that require lifelong medical attention and possibly cause early death. Brazil’s Health Ministry believes there are between 500,000 and 1.5 million cases of Zika, although the virus often doesn’t manifest in symptoms and can be hard to detect. As a result of the potential link between the virus and microcephaly and the fact that the summer is just beginning in Brazil (meaning a hot and rainy temperature that the mosquitoes thrive in), health officials are taking the unusual step of recommending that would-be parents shelve their procreation plans for the time-being. There is no word on when this recommendation will be lifted, but as a result of the situation, six states in Brazil have declared a state of emergency.

via CNN

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