Pregnant NBC 'Today' anchor Guthrie skipping Olympics due to Zika

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Savannah Guthrie, co-anchor of NBC’s “Today” show, said on Tuesday she is pregnant and will not travel to Brazil to cover the Olympics in August for the network due to concerns over the Zika virus, which has been linked to the birth defect microcephaly.

“I’m not going to be able to go to Rio,” Guthrie told viewers of the morning show on Tuesday. “The doctors say that we shouldn’t, because of the Zika virus, so I’ll miss it.”

Guthrie, 44, said she is expecting her second child at the end of the year.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised pregnant women not to travel to areas with active Zika transmission, based on evidence that the mosquito-borne virus can cause microcephaly. The birth defect is marked by small head size that can lead to severe developmental problems in babies.

Brazil, the country most affected by the virus that is spreading in the Americas, has confirmed more than 1,400 cases of microcephaly.

Guthrie had been scheduled to host NBC’s coverage of the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 5 along with her “Today” co-anchor Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, NBC said in April.

The network will send more than 2,000 employees to Brazil for its coverage of the Olympics, with a “small handful” electing not to go due to Zika concerns, an NBC Sports spokesman said.

“The safety of our team members is always our first priority,” the spokesman said. “No NBC personnel assigned to work in Rio will be required to travel if they believe their personal health or safety is at risk.”

Reporting by Anna Driver; Additional reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Will Dunham