Must monitor for Zika in normal babies for months after birth

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Mothers who have contracted the Zika virus breathe a huge sigh of relief when their baby is born without any signs of the abnormal head size at birth. However, recent data out of Brazil suggests that effects may be seen well after birth, reports the New York Times.

Brazilian doctors found Zika-affected babies who were born completely normal but then showed later delayed neurodevelopment some five months after birth. Some even developed the hallmark defect microencephaly where the brain and skull do not grow properly after birth.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) are just starting to understand this phenomenon but have been hamstrung by recent fights in Congress over Zika funding. And, while mosquito season is just ending, experts worry that the threat is still large both in the US and internationally, and will continue to be a threat when weather warms again. Scientists have also determined that Zika can be spread through sexual contact.

The New York Times reports that there are currently 2200 pregnant women among the 25,600 cases of Zika now tracked  by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in the US and territories. It’s important to distinguish that about 2/3 of these are in US Territories (vs. US states and D.C.) reflecting the geographic origination of the disease in warmer regions.

21 babies have been documented with Zika-related birth defects in the Continental US.

You can get up to the date Zika information and warnings at cdc.gov.

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