Norway issues new Zika advice for pregnant women

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File photo. Flickr: coniferconifer
10:59 CET+01:00
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Folkehelseinstitut - NIPH) has advised women who have travelled to regions affected by the Zika virus to wait at least one month before becoming pregnant.

The institute's new recommendations, published on its website, also recommend using a condom for one month after returning from at-risk areas and extending the period to six months should infection be suspected.

“As far as we know, there are only two cases in which Zika has been transferred through sexual contact. One of these dates back several years and another is from the current outbreak,” Tone Bruun, consultant at the Department for Monitoring Infections at NIPH told NTB.

The virus has spread rapidly throughout Latin America since the beginning of 2016, and is transmitted by the Aedes species of mosquito. Up to 27 countries have now been affected, with the World Health Organisation declaring the virus a global threat.

The virus has also travelled to the United States through infected tourists, and has also reached a number of European countries, including United Kingdom and Denmark.

Although the mosquito that spreads the virus is not found in Scandinavia, there is a lower risk of the disease spreading through sexual contact.

While 80 percent of infected individuals do not show symptoms, the virus is thought to increase the risk of microcephalous – an underdevelopment of the skull and brain – in babies born to mothers carrying the virus.

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