HealthDay News — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has referred to Zika virus as causing microcephaly and other birth defects, according to a report published by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG).

In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the CDC referred to Zika virus as causing microcephaly and other birth defects for the first time, and no longer presumes an association.

According to the report, the previous recommendations regarding prevention and avoidance of Zika virus infection and transmission remain unchanged. Obstetrician-gynecologists should counsel their patients regarding the importance of postponing travel to affected areas if they are or are planning to become pregnant, and the potential need to delay pregnancy for those who live in affected areas or if travel to those areas cannot be avoided. Physicians should stay informed of the latest evidence regarding sexual transmission of Zika virus.

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“The message of the CDC paper underscores the importance of ongoing research into this outbreak,” Mark S. DeFrancesco, MD, MBA, president of ACOG, said in a statement. “We once again encourage Congress to act swiftly to pass emergency funding to enhance our public health preparedness and enable America’s researchers to lead the charge in the development of a vaccine or treatment for this virus.”

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