Brazil urges pregnant women to avoid Olympics

Brazilian soldiers conduct an inspection for the Aedes aegypti mosquito on a street in Recife, Brazil, on Feb 1, 2016.
Brazilian soldiers conduct an inspection for the Aedes aegypti mosquito on a street in Recife, Brazil, on Feb 1, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

BRASILIA (AFP) - Pregnant women should not travel to Brazil for the 2016 Olympics because of the risk of fetal brain damage caused by the Zika virus, President Dilma Rousseff's chief of staff said on Monday (Feb 1).

"The risk, which I would say is serious, is for pregnant women. It is clearly not advisable for you (to travel to Rio de Janeiro for the Games in August) because you don't want to take that risk," said Cabinet chief Jaques Wagner, after the World Health Organization declared an emergency over the mosquito-borne virus, suspected of causing microcephaly, or abnormally small heads, in babies.