Live Births Fell in Brazil after the Link between the Zika Virus and Microcephaly Was Widely Publicized
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The Zika virus was first reported in Brazil in 2014. In late 2015, Brazil’s Ministry of Health announced the association between the Zika virus and microcephaly, which was followed by intense national and international media coverage. Government officials subsequently released statements recommending that women postpone pregnancies. The authors use monthly data on live births and other data sources to show that the number of live births fell in 2016 approximately 9 months after the publicized link between the Zika virus and microcephaly. Declines were observed across all educational groups and all but the oldest age groups and in both the northeastern and southern states examined in more detail.