Misleading Headline Leads To Expectant Mum Panic

It’s actually a serious story. And relatively neatly reported.
But the headline. No.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • There’s a mosquito-borne virus found in and around the equatorial belt called Zika Virus
  • It’s a member of the Flaviviridae virus family (actually, you probably didn’t need to know that)
  • It’s been linked with birth defects in cases where it infects pregnant women
  • The El Salvador Ministry of Health has suggested that, where possible, women delay falling pregnant

Sky News reported it like this:

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Look, once you’ve read the story (or once your favourite blog has explained it to you in helpful bullet points), it does kind of make sense. But if you are pregnant and just see the headline, well, it does appear that you’re going to be pregnant for about 166% longer than you thought. (Or 7% if you’re an elephant.) (In which case how are you reading this anyway?)

Simply replacing “Warning” with “Advice” would surely have worked better.

As with many tropical diseases, Zika Fever can be avoided by not living in or visiting tropical areas. Despite the heatwave of the last few weeks in Cape Town, we’re not one of them, so thankfully our local-mums-to-be are safe and can hopefully look forward to entirely normal 0.75-year pregnancies.

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