Zika causes microcephaly and other birth defects, says CDC

pharmafile | April 14, 2016 | News story | Medical Communications, Research and Development CDC, Zika, Zika virus, birth defects, microcephaly 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has concluded that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe foetal brain defects, after their scientists conducted a careful review of the existing evidence.

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, they note that while no single piece of evidence was able to provide conclusive proof of the cause and effect relationship between the Zika virus and microcephaly, and other foetal brain defects, the increasing evidence from a number of recently published studies all support this conclusion.

While not all women who have the Zika virus will give birth to babies with these defects, it greatly increases the risk of these infants having these health problems. While this conclusion attempts to definitively answer one questions related to Zika, according to the researchers, many still remain.

Tom Friedman, director of the CDC, says: “This study marks a turning point in the Zika outbreak. It is now clear that the virus causes microcephaly. We are also launching further studies to determine whether children who have microcephaly born to mothers infected by the Zika virus is the tip of the iceberg of what we could see in damaging effects on the brain and other developmental problems.

“We’ve now confirmed what mounting evidence has suggested, affirming our early guidance to pregnant women and their partners to take steps to avoid Zika infection and to health care professionals who are talking to patients every day. We are working to do everything possible to protect the American public.”

This reinforces the recent research, which supports the link between Zika and Microcephaly. also spoke to virologist and senior lecturer in medical microbiology at the University of Westminster, Dr Edward Wright, who discussed ways to tackle the Zika threat. You can find that interview here.

Sean Murray

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