First Zika virus brain damage case in U.S. identified

Brittany A. Roston - Jan 18, 2016, 2:47 pm CDT
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First Zika virus brain damage case in U.S. identified

In a first for the U.S., a case brain damage caused by the Zika virus has been identified, according to the Hawaii State Department of Health. A baby in Oahu was born with microcephaly, confirmed to be caused by the Zika virus, which has unfortunately afflicted thousands of babies in Brazil with the same condition. In this latest case, the baby’s mother had been in Brazil in May 2015.

The CDC confirmed the presence of the virus; officials believe the baby’s mother picked up the Zika virus in Brazil through a mosquito bite during the early part of her pregnancy. This unfortunate case follows immediately after the CDC’s new travel recommendation for pregnant women advising them to avoid visiting areas with known Zika virus issues.

The virus has active transmission cases going on in more than a dozen countries, including 17 in Latin American and the Caribbean. In addition to Brazil, the virus has been transmitted in Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Honduras, Haiti, Venezuela, and more. Likewise, the number of countries has been increasing. Most recently, Barbados confirmed its first case over the weekend.

In addition to travel advisories for pregnant women, all travelers are being advised to use repellants and other methods for avoiding mosquito bites in such areas. The CDC has estimated the Zika virus will have a transmission pattern akin to dengue fever. So far, despite cases of infected individuals, there have been no confirmed cases of Zika transmission within Hawaii.

The virus, in addition to dengue fever, is related to the West Nile viruses and yellow fever.

SOURCE: New York Times


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