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SAN SALVADOR — Public health officials in El Salvador are advising women to put off pregnancies for the next two years to avoid passing on complications from the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

Eduardo Espinoza, vice minister of public health, said Thursday that women who are already pregnant should stay covered outdoors to reduce the risk of mosquito bites. There are 96 suspected cases of pregnant women with the virus in El Salvador.

Some countries with Zika, such as Brazil, have seen spikes in the number of cases of microcephaly, a rare brain defect in babies. The infants tend to have smaller than normal heads and their brains do not fully develop.


The announcement in El Salvador came at the launch of an anti-mosquito campaign. The same mosquito also transmits the fever-inducing dengue and chikungunya viruses.