El Salvador is one of the 22 countries and territories in the Americas to report local transmission of Zika virus, in fact, the Central American country has seen a surge in cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) recently possibly attributed with the mosquito borne virus.

el salvadorToday, ABC News is reporting that the health ministry is advising all women of reproductive age to delay pregnancy until 2018 due to concerns about possible birth defects linked to the virus. The birth defect, of course is microcephaly.

ABC says that the health ministry said they are advising women from becoming pregnant but have not issued any official guidelines or policy statements.

The Health Ministry has tweeted several time in the past 24 hours about Zika and the decisions made by women and have specifically tweeted “recommended that pregnancies are avoided”.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, microcephaly is a medical condition in which the circumference of the head is smaller than normal because the brain has not developed properly or has stopped growing.  Microcephaly can be present at birth or it may develop in the first few years of life.  It is most often caused by genetic abnormalities that interfere with the growth of the cerebral cortex during the early months of fetal development.  It is associated with Down’s syndrome, chromosomal syndromes, and neurometabolic syndromes.  Babies may also be born with microcephaly if, during pregnancy, their mother abused drugs or alcohol or became infected with a number of viral or toxic agents.

Brazil has seen a suspected 4,000 or so cases of microcephaly since the Zika virus found it’s way into the mosquito population last year and the evidence continues to grow that may establish a real link between the virus and the birth defect.