“We recommend all couples living in the country to prevent pregnancy” in the current phase of spreading the virus, ” which could run until the month of July 2016 “, announced the Ministry of Health in a statement.

“We consider that the country is in a infection propagation phase by zika virus (ZIKV), that is to say, an expansion of the epidemic,” the ministry said.

In the statement dated January 7, the ministry recommended that all pregnant women living in an area located at least 2,200 meters to refrain from traveling until at least July 2016 in areas of lower altitudes, where the risk of getting the disease is higher.

Virus zika, which causes fever, rash and pain in the head and joints, is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, also carry dengue and chikungunya.

Colombia has indexed more than 11,000 confirmed cases of the virus zika, transmitted by the mosquito, and about 2,000 suspected cases, the majority in the Caribbean, according to a report from the National Institute of Health (INS) .

Many of these cases are confirmed pregnant –459 and 101 suspects– in which this virus can affect the fetus and cause birth defects or death.

In Brazil More than 3,500 cases of microcephaly, a rare malformation of the brain have been documented between October and January, when the epidemic was spreading zika. Analyses be said that in four of these cases, the fetus had developed the malformation during pregnancy because of the virus.

The United States on Friday urged pregnant women to avoid visit Colombia and 13 other Latin American and Caribbean countries affected by the epidemic zika.