U.S. health officials are debating if they should warn pregnant women not to travel to Brazil as well as other countries in Latin America as well as the Caribbean where mosquitoes have spread the Zika virus, a virus that is being linked to brain damage in newborns.
Officials are saying that it could be just the first time the U.S. Center for Disease Control advises women who are pregnant to avoid a specific area during a particular outbreak.
Some specialists in infectious disease say that this type of warning is now warranted, although it could create a devastating effect on overall travel as well as tourism to the region.
A CDC spokesperson said the federal agency hoped to make its announcement between Thursday and Friday.
We cannot make these kinds of decisions in a vacuum announced a spokesperson for the CDC, adding that they were consulting with experts on the outside.
The Zika virus appeared first in May in South America although it often causes just mild fevers and rashes, women who contract the virus, and in particular those in the first trimester of their pregnancy, appear to be the most likely to have children that have small head and brains that are damaged, a condition known as microcephaly.
A disease specialist at the CDC said on Wednesday that the CDC found the virus in the tissue of four infants from Brazil of which two suffered from microcephaly and died shortly after being born and two whom died inside the womb.
Microcephaly can be caused by a number of other things such as rubellaor cytomegalovirus and genetic defects, during pregnancy.
Fetus samples looked like what is present if an infection had been the cause, said doctors.
Brazilian scientists previously had found this virus in the tissue or the amniotic fluid of three fetuses that had been malformed. This new find provides evidence that is much stronger of a linkage, said the CDC specialist.