Tags: zika | virus | mosquito | disease | microcephaly

Zika Virus, Spread by Mosquitoes, on the Rise in Brazil

Image: Zika Virus, Spread by Mosquitoes, on the Rise in Brazil
A female Aedes aegypti mosquito is shown in this 2006 Center for Disease Control (CDC) photograph released to Reuters on October 30, 2013. (James Gathany/CDC/Handout via Reuters)

By    |   Wednesday, 16 Dec 2015 02:47 PM

Cases of Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease linked to a neurodevelopmental disorder, are spreading across Latin America with some 1,761 instances of babies being born with unusually small brains reported in Brazil.

Brazilian health authorities said last month there was a link between the mosquito-borne Zika virus and a surge in babies born with microcephaly, which can cause developmental and intellectual difficulties and limit intelligence and muscle coordination for life, Reuters reported.

But the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement on microcephaly that the cause of the outbreak in Brazil had yet to be determined.

As of Dec. 5, the statement said 19 children had died out of the 1,761 suspected cases distributed across 422 municipalities in Brazil.

On Dec. 7, Brazil's Ministry of Health revised the definition of microcephaly to include babies with a head circumference of less than 32 cm, instead of 33 cm previously.

Babies in that category will be closely monitored, WHO said.

Indigenous circulation of the virus has been detected in the Americas since February 2014, when Chile confirmed the first non-imported transmission of the disease on Easter Island.

The Zika virus has also been confirmed this year in Panama, Venezuela, El Salvador, Mexico, Suriname, Colombia, Guatemala, and Paraguay. It is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, also known to carry the yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya viruses.

"Because the Aedes species mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are found throughout the world, it is likely that outbreaks will spread to new countries," the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says on its Zika webpage.

"Zika virus is not currently found in the United States. However, cases of Zika have been reported in returning travelers."

Between three and 12 days after being bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus, three out of four people come down with symptoms including mild fever, rash, conjunctivitis, headaches and joint pain.

The WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions due to the Zika outbreaks.

Zika is also found in Africa and Southeast Asia. There is no vaccine or medicine to prevent or treat it, and travelers are advised to protect themselves by avoiding mosquito bites.

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Cases of Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease linked to a neurodevelopmental disorder, are spreading across Latin America with some 1,761 instances of babies being born with unusually small brains reported in Brazil.
zika, virus, mosquito, disease, microcephaly
359
2015-47-16
Wednesday, 16 Dec 2015 02:47 PM
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