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Zika Virus Linked To Blindness Among Newborns

Update Date: Feb 12, 2016 02:53 PM EST

Troubling Zika updates suggest that the mosquito-borne virus appears to be linked to eye abnormalities among newborns that could ultimately end up in permanent vision loss or blindness. Scientists have recently discovered that more than a third of Zika-affected Brazilian babies examined since December 2015 have damages to their optic nerves.

In a study published in JAMA online, researchers at the Federal University of São Paulo carried out a careful thorough examination with a series of tests involving 29 newborns affected with the virus.

"These are severe retina lesions that will impede the ability of the children to see well. Many of these children could be blind," remarked lead author and ophthalmology professor Rubens Belfort as quoted saying by CNN.

As previously reported, Zika has already been a purported cause of microcephaly- a condition wherein babies are inherently born with unusually small head and brains. There are an estimated 4, 000 microcephaly cases in Brazil prompting the government to admonish women to delay or postpone pregnancy.

"Twenty-three of 29 mothers (79.3%) reported suspected Zika virus infection signs and symptoms during pregnancy, 18 in the first trimester, four in the second trimester, and one in the third trimester," wrote the research team as quoted in a report by the International Business Times.

According to Daily Mail, Zika has seen a massive upsurge in Latin America and Caribbean since news about the outbreak in Brazil broke out around April last year. Like its dengue and malaria cousins, the virus is carried by Aedes Aegypti mosquito with 20% of cases experiencing mild symptoms while most infected people just simply exhibited no symptoms at all.

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