Rogerio Jelmayer, Reed Johnson – The Wall Street Journal, 01/12/2016
The spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which Brazilian health officials have linked to thousands of cases of infant brain damage, is gaining ground in Brazil as the nation enters the height of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer season.
Figures released Tuesday by Brazil’s Health Ministry showed that in the week ending Jan. 9 there were 356 fresh cases of suspected Zika-related microcephaly versus 199 new suspected cases in the week ended Jan. 2.
Brazilian and international health authorities believe that growing numbers of pregnant women who have been bitten by Zika-infected mosquitoes are transmitting microcephaly to their fetuses, via the placenta. Microcephaly causes babies to be born with undersized brains and skulls, a condition that can lead to learning disabilities and other serious developmental problems.