Recently Published Studies Add To Evidence Of Link Between Zika, Microcephaly, Guillain-Barré Syndrome

News outlets discuss the findings of several studies examining the possible association between Zika and neurological defects and syndromes.

The Atlantic: Toward an Understanding of Zika’s Neurological Dangers
“…A new study published Friday in Cell Stem Cell shows how Zika affects neural stem cells, which appear to be particularly vulnerable to the virus. This may be the mechanism by which Zika could cause microcephaly … A study published in The Lancet on Monday offered the first real evidence that Zika can cause Guillain-Barré syndrome — an autoimmune disease in which the immune system targets a person’s nervous system…” (Beck, 3/4).

New York Times: Two Studies Strengthen Links Between the Zika Virus and Serious Birth Defects
“The Zika virus damages many fetuses carried by infected and symptomatic mothers, regardless of when in pregnancy the infection occurs, according to a small but frightening study released on Friday by Brazilian and American researchers. In a separate report published on Friday, other scientists suggested a mechanism for the damage, showing in laboratory experiments that the virus targets and destroys fetal cells that eventually form the brain’s cortex…” (McNeil/Saint Louis, 3/4).

Reuters: New range of serious fetal abnormalities linked to Zika: study
“…The list of ‘grave outcomes’ found in the study of pregnant women in Rio de Janeiro, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Friday, included fetal death, calcification of the brain, placental insufficiency with low to no amniotic fluid, fetal growth restriction, and central nervous system damage, including potential blindness…” (Berkrot, 3/4).

Reuters: Evidence mounts linking Zika virus to birth defects
“…The WHO’s Emergency Committee is due to meet on Tuesday to review ‘evolving information’ and its recommendations on travel, trade, and mosquito control in what is thought to be high season for transmission of the virus in the southern hemisphere…” (Nebehay/Rampton, 3/4).

Wall Street Journal: Evidence Grows Linking Zika Virus to Birth Defect, Paralysis
“…Health officials say they are operating on the assumption that Zika is linked to these complications, while continuing research to determine the nature of the links and whether there are other factors involved…” (McKay, 3/4).

Washington Post: Zika likely behind more pregnancy problems, birth defects than anyone realized, researchers say
“…The researchers noted that the problems associated with Zika have similarities to those caused by other congenital viruses in the past, such as rubella, which affected hundreds of thousands of infants in the United States in the late 1950s and 1960s…” (Dennis, 3/4).

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