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Researchers Continue To Search For Answers On Zika’s Short-, Long-Term Effects

Austin American-Statesman: Health officials scramble to fill research gaps on Zika virus
“Health authorities say they are learning every day about Zika but still have wide knowledge gaps, including whether other types of mosquitoes or animals can be infected and spread the virus and whether pregnant women who catch it but have no symptoms might still have a baby with birth defects…” (Roser, 2/17).

MedPage Today: Zika Found in Amniotic Fluid
“Zika virus was found in amniotic fluid from two pregnant women in Brazil whose fetuses were microcephalic, strengthening the possible link between the virus and birth defects, researchers said. … In an online forum, [NIAID Director Anthony Fauci] told reporters that it will take ‘careful case-control studies’ to pin down whether Zika infection causes microcephaly. Those studies, he said, are already being initiated in Brazil…” (Smith, 2/18).

New York Times: Zika May Increase Risk of Mental Illness, Researchers Say
“…[R]eproductive health experts are warning that microcephaly may be only the most obvious consequence of the spread of the Zika virus. Even infants who appear normal at birth may be at higher risk for mental illnesses later in life if their mothers were infected during pregnancy, many researchers fear…” (McNeil, 2/18).

Reuters: Experts question assumption that Zika sickens just 1 out of 5
“Since the beginning of the Zika outbreak in Brazil that is now spreading rapidly in the Americas, public health authorities have cited a statistic that only about one in five people infected by the virus develops any symptoms. Experts, however, are now questioning whether this standard assumption understates the actual percentage who become ill, saying the finding was made nearly a decade ago in a vastly different setting: a sparsely populated island in Micronesia…” (Prada, 2/18).

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