Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

CDC offers guidelines for delaying pregnancy after Zika exposure

Federal health authorities said for the first time Friday how long couples who have been exposed to the Zika virus should wait before trying to get pregnant.

The officials, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that they had decided to recommend a waiting period based on the latest information about the science of the virus. The Zika virus has been linked to a surge of birth defects in Brazil, and to cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, in which a person's immune system attacks part of the nervous system, leading to some paralysis.

Women who have had symptoms of the virus or tested positive for it should wait at least eight weeks after their symptoms first appeared before trying to get pregnant, the agency said. Officials recommended that men who had symptoms should wait six months before having unprotected sex. The virus has been known to live longer in semen.

"We're learning more every day and evidence of a link between Zika and a spectrum of birth outcomes is becoming stronger and stronger," said Dr. Denise J. Jamieson, one of the leaders of the pregnancy and birth defects team, which is part of the CDC's Zika Virus response team.

She added: "We've become more concerned" about the period around the time of conception. "For people who either have the Zika disease or who travel to an area with active Zika transmission, we are now recommending they wait a period of time before trying to get pregnant."

For people who have traveled to Zika-infected areas, but had no active signs of the disease, the CDC recommended a shorter waiting period — eight weeks for men and women before trying to get pregnant "in order to minimize risk."

Jamieson said the CDC based the waiting periods on the longest known risk period and "allowed three times the longest period" out of an abundance of caution.

The situation is trickiest for men and women who live in areas where Zika is circulating. CDC officials recommended that doctors talk with their patients about the risks of the virus, but stopped short of recommending that women delay pregnancy. (Several countries outside the United States, including Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and Jamaica, have in recent months at least suggested that women postpone getting pregnant for indefinite or varying periods of time. El Salvador has recommended that women wait until 2018.)

"These are very complex, deeply personal decisions," the CDC said in a statement.

For men with pregnant partners who travel to a Zika-infected area, the recommendation remains the same: Use condoms for the duration of the pregnancy. Condoms should be used for vaginal, anal and oral sex.

The agency said the waiting periods for men also applied to how to avoid sexual transmission of Zika to their partners after they had traveled to Zika-infected areas, a phenomenon that is more common than scientists once thought. Men with symptoms should consider using condoms or not having sex for at least six months. For men without symptoms, the period was eight weeks.

The agency also estimated that about 138,000 women in Puerto Rico are not using birth control that is effective, and may be at risk of unintended pregnancy.

CDC offers guidelines for delaying pregnancy after Zika exposure 03/25/16 [Last modified: Friday, March 25, 2016 10:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa is training ground for Team USA inline skating

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — The United States once dominated the sport known as international outdoor inline speed skating.

    Cotton Yarborough is one of five people from the Tampa Bay area on the national inline speed skating team. The team is competing in the world championships Aug. 27 in China. [Courtesy of Frank Holland]
  2. Grocery and hotel deals in reach for Tampa Encore project

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — After failing to land both Publix and Walmart, the Tampa Housing Authority says it is close to a deal to bring another well-known grocer to its Encore project.

    The Tampa Housing Authority's Encore project has housing like The Reed, pictured, but no retail. It is in talks to bring a grocer and two hotels to the site on the west side of Nebraska Avenue close to downtown Tampa.
  3. Epilogue: Former Salty Sisters captain Ernestine Mittermayr, 92

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Ernestine Mittermayr was proud to be a Salty Sister, one of a group of women sailors in the city.

  4. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  5. Late night update: Second wave follows Tropical Storm Harvey

    Hurricanes

    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]