Pregnant women with plans to travel to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil should "consider not going" because of the Zika virus outbreak there, according to travel advice issued Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly in babies whose mothers were infected with the virus, which otherwise causes cold-like symptoms. Microcephaly is a birth defect in which the baby is born with an abnormally small head.
The CDC had already advised pregnant women to postpone trips to areas affected by Zika, but the new advice, released Friday, specifies that pregnant women "consider not going to the Olympics," which are being held in Rio de Janeiro from Aug. 5 to Aug. 21.
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The advice also applies to the 2016 Paralympic Games, which are being held in Brazil in September.
Both pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant who decide to travel to the games should talk to health care providers first, the CDC said, and take strict steps to prevent mosquito bites.
While Zika is known to be transmitted through mosquito bites, it may also be transmitted sexually, and the CDC warned that pregnant women who don't go to the games should take care having sexual contact with male partners returning from the Olympics.
"Either use condoms the right way, every time, or do not have sex during your pregnancy," the CDC said.
The advice was released the same day that the CDC confirmed nine cases of pregnant women with Zika in the U.S., and is investigating 10 more.
Read more about the CDC's travel advice for South American areas affected by Zika here: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/zika-virus-south-america.