PARIS: The world should prepare for a “global epidemic” of microcephaly, a condition which restricts head growth in fetuses, as the Zika virus takes root in new countries, researchers said on Friday. Scientists from Brazil and Britain said they had found additional evidence that Zika is what causes the often debilitating disorder, a link already widely accepted in medical circles. In a study conducted among newborns in Brazil — hardest hit by a joint outbreak — nearly half of 32 infants with microcephaly had traces of Zika virus in their blood or cerebrospinal fluid, the team reported. None of 62 infants born with normal heads tested positive for Zika in their blood. This “striking association”, the researchers wrote in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, led them to “conclude that the microcephaly epidemic is a result of congenital Zika virus infection.” If this is the case, “we should prepare for the epidemic of microcephaly to expand to all countries with current [local]Zika virus transmission and to those countries where transmission of the virus is likely to spread,” the team wrote. “We recommend… that we prepare for a global epidemic of microcephaly and other manifestations of congenital Zika syndrome,” it added. The… Read full this story
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