A study made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the theory that a mother sick with Zika virus has a high chance of giving birth to a baby with cranial deformation (microcephaly) and other neurological diseases.

It is the first time in history that a mosquito is known to transmit such a severe ailment that it causes birth malformations.

According to the CDC, “microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly.” Credit: NBC News

Zika vs. the U.S.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the main carrier of the Zika virus. It is born on warm and humid climates such as those found in most of Latin America. The affected areas include Puerto Rico, which is a frequent travel location for many Americans; the main concern is that Zika can also be sexually transmitted, so its pandemic status is nowhere near its end.

It is expected that the Zika virus is to arrive at the Southern states of the U.S., as this summer is expected to be hotter and more humid than in previous years, which will provide the ideal habitat for the mosquito to reproduce.

Although the conditions of U.S. homes make it hard for the mosquito to thrive on, as of now, it is still quite possible to become infected. The Congress was pressured by President Barack Obama to put $1.8 million towards the prevention and treatment of the disease, which will serve as containment measures in expectancy of the future outbreak.

The virus has been transmitted in 62 countries. Now it can be found on every single continent, with the exception of Antarctica. It was found for the first time on 1947, residing in monkeys living in the Zika forest in Uganda.

Thanks to research efforts, the CDC was able to effectively link Zika and birth malformations. The study took place mainly in Brazil, by reviewing pregnant women infected with Zika and fetuses suffering from microcephaly. The biological criteria that lead the virus to cause damage to the cranial structure were found, which let the CDC take quick action and promote the prevention and containment of the disease.

Although the babies suffered from clear birth malformation, most appeared to be healthy and without brain damage. The conclusion of the study was drawn from systematically checking cases and reviewing accumulating evidence.

Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the CDC argued that “there’s still a lot that we don’t know. But there is no longer any doubt that Zika causes microcephaly.”

Source: NY Times