CDC issues travel alert over Zika virus

The Washington Post (1/15, A1, Phillips) reports in a front-page story the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday “issued a travel alert urging pregnant women not to visit Brazil or about a dozen other countries in the region where mosquitoes have spread the” Zika virus.

On NBC Nightly News (1/15, story 6, 1:55, Holt), Tom Costello reported “researchers believe Zika is behind a dramatic spike in the number of newborns with microcephaly, babies born with abnormally small heads and brains who often die.”

The New York Times (1/15, Mcneil, Subscription Publication) reports the CDC extended the travel advisory “to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico.” According to the Times, “This appears to be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised pregnant women to avoid a specific region” and it “could affect the Summer Olympics, set for Brazil in August.” Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, chief of vector-borne diseases for the CDC, warned, “This virus is spreading throughout the Americas. We didn’t feel we could wait.”

Meanwhile, on the CBS Evening News (1/16, story 7, 2:05, Pelley), Marlie Hall reported, “The first US case of a baby infected” with the Zika virus has been reported in Hawaii. Officials, according to CBS, said the mother “likely contracted Zika while living in Brazil.”