..A top official from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters today that to firm up the connections between the two conditions researchers must study the documented microcephaly cases, the case history of pregnant women and conduct case-control studies of babies born in affected areas such as Brazil to get further insights. Only then, following careful analyses, can scientists solidify the Zika–microcephaly links and the required preventative steps.
Although the Brazilian government has said there are almost 4,000 cases of microcephaly in the country, only six of the cases have been strongly linked to Zika virus via laboratory testing that confirms genetic material from the virus is present in the infant, Claudio Maierovitch, director of the Department of Communicable Disease Surveillance in Brazil’s Ministry of Health told the WHO today in Geneva. Brazilian officials with assistance from the CDC and other groups are now trying to firm up that data.
The director general of WHO, Margaret Chan, however, said that although that causal relationship has not been proved, it is “strongly suspected.” That is due, in part, to other research that has shown the virus is capable of crossing the placental barrier and showing up in amniotic fluid. Retrospective analysis of an earlier outbreak of Zika in French Polynesia also separately suggests that there, too, was an increase in cases of neurological impairment, according to the CDC…
Note: The zika viruses passing from mother to baby via the placenta barrier. Zika possiby causing fetal encephalitis?