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Tag: microcephaly

Zika Virus Now Local In The U.S.?

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Aedes species mosquito

Reports from Florida are suggesting that local mosquitoes may have transmitted the Zika virus to two people. This is a new development that, if confirmed, validates the CDC’s prediction that local cases will be seen in warm weather states this summer.

As of July 20th, 46 states have reported more than 1400 cases of Zika infection, until now all travel-related. In the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, however, there are almost 4000 cases, almost all locally-transmitted.

Although Zika poses the most risk to pregnant women and their fetuses, the virus continues to defy expectation as new and unusual cases mount. The viral disease, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, can attack brain and other nerve cells in fetuses, leading to microcephaly and other abnormalities  in growth and development. Zika has also been associated with nerve disorders in humans, including the paralysis-inducing Guillain-Barre Syndrome. read more

Zika News: More Cases In U.S., More Woes In Brazil

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aedes albopictus

The U.S. now has three newborns with Zika-related birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Puerto Rico now has 1,700 confirmed cases of Zika, almost 200 of which are in pregnant women. The warm-weather U.S. territory is in the midst of an epidemic of the mosquito-borne illness. The numbers don’t take into account that 80 per cent of infections are without symptoms, a fact that suggests that the actual number of cases is at least five times higher. Evaluations of blood banks in the island has found that more than one per cent of all units donated carry evidence of the Zika virus. read more

Cancel or Move the Olympics

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image by pixabay.com

A letter signed by 150 doctors and scientists has called for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to be moved or delayed due to the Zika virus. Rio is in the heart of the current epidemic.

Calling inaction “irresponsible” and “unethical”, the letter suggests that the Zika virus in Brazil is acting differently than it has in other areas, something I suggested may relate to a mutation in a recent article.

So make it 151 doctors and scientists. In my opinion, sending a half million tourists, not to mention athletes, to the  epicenter of a raging epidemic is, to say least, a bad idea. They’ll come from 170 different countries, get bitten by mosquitoes in Brazil, and head back home to have local mosquitoes spread the poorly-understood virus throughout the world. read more