Zika Virus Likely Tied to Brazil’s Surge in Babies Born With Small Heads, CDC Says

Helen Branswell – STAT, 01/13/2016

New test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide the best evidence to date that a mosquito-borne virus is causing Brazil’s alarming rise in babies born with abnormally underdeveloped heads, a top official said Wednesday.

The results are not definitive proof that Zika virus infections during pregnancy are causing some women to give birth to babies with microcephaly, but they add to mounting evidence that the large wave of infections that began in Brazil last May is linked to the extraordinary increase in microcephaly cases.

“I wouldn’t use [the term] smoking gun, but what I would say is that these data provide the strongest evidence to date of a possible link between Zika virus and microcephaly and other congenital abnormalities,” Dr. Lyle Petersen, the director of the CDC’s division of vector-borne diseases, told STAT.

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