Since last year, Brazil has seen a significant increase in babies being born with abnormally small skulls and brain defects at a similar time to an outbreak of Zika across the country. However, the link between the Zika virus and microcephaly had only been speculated until the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed there was enough evidence to confirm it.
According to The Guardian, tests showed Zika virus was present in the brain tissue, spinal fluid and amniotic fluid of babies with microcephaly.
Director of the CDC, Dr Tom Frieden said: “There is no longer any doubt that Zika causes microcephaly.”
Global health agencies have recommended that pregnant women avoid travelling to Zika-infected areas, to abstain from sex or use condoms and to use mosquito repellent.
A review of the evidence and conclusion were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Dr Bruce Aylward from The World Health Ogranization (WHO) welcomed the confirmation: “We feel it’s time to move from precautionary language to more forceful language to get people to take action.”
In most people, the Zika virus causes mild or brief illnesses.
The confirmation of the relationship between Zika and microcephaly comes shortly after health officials called for the US Congress to approve an emergency request of $1.9 billion to tackle the virus internationally.
However, House Republicans said it may grant a portion of the request, but it won’t be available until September.
Midwives can find the latest guidelines of the outbreak on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website.
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