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New emerging infection: Zika virus!

January 19, 2016

mosquitoThe emerging infectious agent, Zika virus, is a member of the Flavivirus family, well-known to be neurotropic. You may be more familiar with the West Nile virus, another Flavivirus borne by mosquito hosts. The adult infection is not remarkable, but new evidence is coming forward that a woman who is infected by the Zika virus is at risk of having a child with microcephaly (characterized by a small cranium and reduced brain tissue). In Brazil where this virus is highly prevalent, a stunning increase in microcephaly in infants has occured over the last 18 months or so, concurrent with increased Zika virus infection.

I don’t think the same impact will be seen in the US, due to our climate not being hospitable to the arthropod vector of the virus, the Aedes mosquito, and our mosquito control measures. But women traveling to Brazil who may be early in pregnancy, or may become pregnant should use caution until further studies are done.



New York Times answers for Zika virus

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