Zika virus may cause birth defects

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has claimed that there is enough evidence to confirm about the connection between the infection and the birth defects, also known as microcephaly.

Last Updated: Apr 14, 2016, 19:11 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: In what could be called as a breakthrough, scientists have claimed that zika virus could affect infants. It has been claimed that the virus could cause brain damage and unusually small heads in babies born to infected mothers.

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has claimed that there is enough evidence to confirm about the connection between the infection and the birth defects, also known as microcephaly.

“There is no longer any doubt that Zika causes microcephaly,” said Thomas R. Frieden, the Center's director. 

He said the conclusion, reached after evaluating “mounting evidence from many studies,” signifies “an unprecedented association” in medicine, The New York Times reported.

“Never before in history has there been a situation where a bite from a mosquito can result in a devastating malformation,” Frieden said.

He and other agency officials said they hoped that the announcement increased awareness and concern about the potential threat to Americans who travel to affected areas in Latin America and those living in Puerto Rico, American Samoa and Southern states where the virus is expected to arrive later this year.

About 700 people in the United States have been infected with the Zika virus as of last week, including 69 pregnant women, the centre announced on Monday.

About half of the cases are in Puerto Rico, where the virus is circulating locally. Most of the other American cases have occurred in people who travelled to South America.

(With IANS inputs)