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Brazil Tests Confirm Link Between Zika Virus And Deformities In Newborns

Update Date: Dec 01, 2015 09:18 AM EST

Brazilian newborns are facing deformities due to infection from Zika virus that affects mothers during the first few months of pregnancy, said the Brazilian Health Ministry Saturday, according to HNGN.

It was announced after an "epidemiological alert" by the Pan American Health Organization. It issued a warning to people regarding the large number of microcephaly cases that were announced in the area.

Microcephaly leads to babies with abnormally small heads due to "stunted brain development".

When researchers found a Zika virus in the blood and tissue samples of a baby from Ceara, who was born with microcephaly and died soon, the link between Zika virus infection and microcephaly became established. The test was conducted by Evandro Chagas Institute.

"This is an unprecedented situation in world scientific research," the ministry of health said. "The research on the subject should continue to clarify issues such as the transmission of the agent, its role in the human body, the infection of the fetus and period of increased vulnerability for pregnant women."

The risk is particularly high in the first trimester.

Other fatalities due to Zika virus included a man from San Luis, Maranhao, and a 16-year-old girl.

The deadly disease is transmitted by the mosquito that also carries dengue and chikungunya viruses. It has spread speedily in South America and the Caribbean. It was first detected in Brazil in April, but has now gone on to 18 states with 739 cases that have been affected, BBC reported.

The Brazilian health ministry explained that Zika, dengue and chikugunya may infect 199 municipalities and it has started a "national mobilization effort to contain the mosquito, Aedes aegypti, responsible for the spread of dengue, chikungunya and Zika."

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