CDC Cautions Pregnant Women Against Going To The Rio Olympics

Photographed by Grace Willis.
Not only is the Zika virus causing serious problems in many countries, but with the Olympics looming, it also has the worst timing. So the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took a big step in solving that problem: In a travel advisory released late last week, the agency suggested that pregnant women consider not traveling to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics this summer.

As you might expect, the advisory is in reference to the ongoing Zika outbreak in the area, which will leave the estimated 500,000 people expected to attend the games vulnerable to the virus, the New York Times reports. Although most of us don't need to be too worried about the virus, pregnant women have unique concerns: The virus has been linked to both miscarriages and birth defects, including microcephaly.

But let's remember that having a Zika infection when you're not pregnant doesn't set you up for problems should you become pregnant once you've recovered. On the other hand, we know that Zika can be transmitted sexually. And researchers don't know for how long after the infection men can transmit it via semen — in one report the virus was detected nine weeks later. But don't worry, the CDC's got your (safe!) sex life covered, too.
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