Zika Shines Light On Little-Studied Microcephaly, Guillain-Barré Syndrome; New Evidence From Brazil Shows Possible Association Between Birth Defect, Virus

Associated Press: Zika spotlights rare birth defect with a variety of causes
“The Zika virus is putting a spotlight on a potentially devastating birth defect that until now has gotten little public attention. Regardless of whether the mosquito-borne virus really causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads, a variety of other conditions trigger microcephaly…” (Neergaard, 2/4).

The Guardian: Colombia confirms first three deaths of patients infected with Zika virus
“Colombia has confirmed the first three deaths of patients infected with the Zika virus who had contracted a seemingly related disease that attacks the nervous system and causes paralysis. Alejandro Gaviria, the health minister, told the Guardian that another two deaths caused by the disease — known as Guillain-Barré syndrome — were still unconfirmed to be Zika-related…” (Brodzinsky, 2/4).

PBS FRONTLINE: New Link Between Zika and Microcephaly Is Found in Brazil
“…Researchers here tested the spinal fluid of 12 babies with microcephaly, all of whom were born to mothers who reported having symptoms of Zika early in their pregnancies. In all 12 cases, the researchers found evidence of Zika — results they described as stunning…” (Worth, 2/3).

Wall Street Journal: Rate of Zika-Related Birth Defects in Brazil Uncertain
“…[T]he magnitude of the rise in microcephaly remains uncertain. On closer review, Brazilian health authorities are finding that as many as two-thirds of the suspected cases aren’t microcephaly, or aren’t the kind of microcephaly caused by a virus like Zika…” (Lyons, 2/4).

Washington Post: Brazil pushes back at Zika critics, finds new evidence of link to birth defect
“Brazilian officials pushed back Thursday at claims that the country’s export controls are preventing international researchers from obtaining badly needed samples of the virus. Brazil’s Health Ministry said two-thirds of the Zika samples collected in the country during recent fieldwork performed with a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be sent to the United States, after export of the samples was approved by a medical ethics review board…” (Phillips et al., 2/4).

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