Thursday, 21 January 2016

Zika Virus Continues to Spread in the Americas

Zika virus, the mosquito-borne virus that causes microcephaly is rapidly spreading in Brazil. As at January 16, the tally of babies with unusually small heads (microcephaly) had increased to 3893 babies.

On Tuesday, the Fiocruz biomedical centre in Curitiba announced it found the Zika virus in the placenta of a woman who had a miscarriage, proving the virus can reach the foetus. Until now, researchers had only found Zika in the amniotic fluid of two pregnant women.

The Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is also known to carry the dengue, yellow fever and Chikungunya viruses. Health experts are unsure why the virus detected in Africa in 1947 but unknown in the Americas until last year is spreading so rapidly in Brazil and neighbouring countries.

In Colombia, which has the second highest Zika infection rate after Brazil, the government is advising women to delay becoming pregnant for six to eight months to avoid the risk.

I sincerely hope this virus does not get to Nigeria!

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