With less than a month until the 2016 Olympic Games
kick off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is still battling the heartbreaking effects of the Zika outbreak.
The ongoing epidemic has been a cause of alarm for athletes, scientists, and travelers who fear that going to a place with an active outbreak will put pregnant women at risk worldwide. Newborn babies have been the main victims of the Zika epidemic in Brazil and other parts of the Americas, with birth defects, such as microcephaly, being linked to the virus
The World Health Organization (WHO) rejected a petition
in late May by 100 leading scientists to push back Rio 2016. That decision hasn't stopped big names like NBC's Savannah Guthrie, cyclist Tejay van Garderen, and golfer Jason Day from announcing that they'll stay home.
But women in Brazil remain among those most closely hit by the outbreak — forced to live with the consequences of the spread since the first cases were confirmed in May 2015.
About 1,600 babies in the country have been born with microcephaly or other malformations in Zika-related cases, according to WHO
. The number is only expected to grow in the coming months due to the country recording about 3,600 cases of Zika-infected pregnancies as of late May, The Washington Post reported
Ahead, powerful photos that capture women and children affected by the virus so far this year in Pernambuco State, Brazil, which has been widely considered the epicenter of the health crisis.
Editor's note: All of the captions were provided by Getty Images and have been edited for clarity.