If you plan on visiting a Zika-infected region in the near future, the World Health Organization now recommends that you follow safe sex practices or remain abstinent for at least eight weeks after you return. The organization previously recommended a four-week period, but scientists now believe the virus lasts longer in the body than previously thought.
If a male partner is exhibiting Zika symptoms (which could include fever, rash, and joint pain), couples are advised to put off any attempts at becoming pregnant for six months.
The fear is that babies conceived by a parent with Zika will be born with microecephaly, a birth defect which causes babies to be born with unusually small heads and, usually, brain damage.
“The guidance is to delay or consider delaying pregnancy, certainly recognizing that this is tough for some populations,” said WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier.
Pregnant women have already been advised to hold off on travel to Zika-infected regions. As of Tuesday, the United States has already seen hundreds of cases of Zika from travelers returning from affected areas.
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