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Microcephaly Zika virus confirmed to cause birth defects

Until now, although suspected, there had been no medical proof establishing a relationship between the mosquito-borne virus (Zika) and birth defects seen in Latin America.

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Zika virus is spread through the bite of an Aedes species of mosquito. play

Zika virus is spread through the bite of an Aedes species of mosquito.

Research by the United States’ Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the link between birth defects and pregnant women infected with the Zika virus.

This is the first time; mosquitoes have been attributed to causing congenital birth defects.

READ ALSO: Zika Virus, Lassa fever: Ministry of Health issues alert

According to Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, the study was a significant breakthrough. “This study marks a turning point in the Zika outbreak.  It is now clear that the virus causes microcephaly.

Until now, although suspected, there had been no medical proof establishing a relationship between the mosquito-borne virus and birth defects seen in Latin America.

Chart showing countries and territories with active Zika virus transmission and reported cases. play

Chart showing countries and territories with active Zika virus transmission and reported cases.

 

Although the Zika virus does not cause major harm to most adults including pregnant women, it is their unborn children that are the most vulnerable. Tens of babies in countries such as Brazil have been born with defects such as microcephaly, which results in babies having unusually small heads.

READ: Zika: 7 things you need to know about mosquito virus

Mosquitoes' rapid spread poses threat beyond Zika play

Mosquitoes' rapid spread poses threat beyond Zika

(Reuters)

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) also confirmed that Zika was also linked to the Guillain-Barre syndrome. According to the global health body, Guillain-Barre is “a rare condition in which a person’s immune system attacks their peripheral nerves.” The syndrome which can lead to paralysis is especially prevalent in adult males.

Although the Zika virus has not been detected in Africa, there is growing concern on the continent where malaria (which is also caused by mosquitoes) is rife.

According to the Ghana Health Service, malaria tops OPD cases and kills three children every day in Ghana.

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