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article image'Strongest evidence yet' of birth defect linked to Zika virus

By Karen Graham     Jan 13, 2016 in Health
Studies on the mosquito-borne Zika virus have been ongoing in Brazil and in the U.S. since an upsurge in the number of babies born in Brazil with microcephaly in 2015. The CDC may have found the answer.
Canada's CTV News is reporting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Wednesday that researchers found the dengue-like Zika virus in the babies of two women who miscarried and two newborns who died.
The two newborns had microcephaly, a rare condition where the heads are abnormally small. Dr. Lyle Petersen, the director of mosquito-borne diseases called the findings of the virus in the brain tissues "very significant." This announcement adds to the studies conducted in Brazil and reported in November, that the Zika virus was linked to microcephaly.
According to the CDC, outbreaks of the virus have occurred in Africa, southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Central and South America. There have been as many as 22 confirmed cases of Zika in the U.S. since 2007, all involving people who had traveled outside the country.
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The latest U.S. case was confirmed on Monday when Harris County, Texas health officials confirmed a traveler who had recently been to El Salvador had come down with the mosquito-borne virus. Specimens from a number of people who have become ill and had traveled outside the U.S. are being tested.
The Zika virus is spread by the bite of a mosquito, says the CDC. However, making the issue of transmission more questionable, according to a Digital Journal story published on Jan. 10, a German researcher has a theory that Zika can be transmitted by sex, as well as mosquitoes.
The CDC recommends that all people, especially pregnant women, who are traveling to Brazil and other areas in Latin America, should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites to reduce their risk of infection with Zika virus and other mosquito-borne viruses such as dengue and chikungunya.
There is no medicine to treat Zika, nor is there a vaccine to protect people. Symptoms to be aware of include, a fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis. Brazil's government is reporting that 3,500 babies have been born with microcephaly in the country since October. In 2014, the number was less than 150.
More about Zika virus, microcephaly, brazil cases, Puerto rico, no vaccine
 
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