birth defects

Summer is upon us and that means more of the bugs that made international headlines last year – mosquitos. What progress has been made in the fight against the Zika virus? Can we cure Zika, or prevent it? And what can residents do to help?

Zika is a scary virus because of the terrible birth defects it can cause. Now scientists have a clearer sense of the size of that risk.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified 2,549 pregnant women with the Zika virus in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories between Jan. 1, 2016 and April 25, 2017. The CDC found that 122 of these women — about 5 percent — gave birth to babies with birth defects such as small heads (known as microcephaly).

A series of medical images published Tuesday offer the most complete picture, so far, of how the Zika virus can damage the brain of a fetus.

"The images show the worst brain infections that doctors will ever see," says Dr. Deborah Levine, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, who contributed to the study. "Zika is such a severe infection [in fetuses]. Most doctors will have never seen brains like this before."

SPENCER PARTS / WLRN

The first case of Zika-related microcephaly was confirmed today in a child born in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The child’s mother is from Haiti and had a travel-related case of Zika. She came to Florida to deliver the baby, authorities said.

The department of health is connecting the mother and child with services through its Early Steps program.

“It is heartbreaking to learn that a baby has been born with Zika-related microcephaly in our state and my thoughts and prayers are with the mother and child,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a release.

John Moore/Getty Images

Three babies with Zika-linked birth defects have been born in the U.S., the government reported Thursday in its first accounting of outcomes for pregnant women infected with the virus.

A study of women who were infected with the Zika virus late in pregnancy found that none had babies with apparent birth defects.

Women And The Zika Virus: Smart Questions And A Few Solid Answers

Jun 13, 2016
John Moore/Getty Images

Mosquitoes may be one of summer’s nuisances. But the ones carrying Zika, a virus that has spread through Latin America and could be transmitted in the United States this summer, are triggering public health warnings — especially among women of childbearing age — because of Zika’s propensity to cause birth defects.

Felipe Dana/Associated Press / Associated Press Photo

The World Health Organization says women who live in areas where Zika is spreading should consider delaying pregnancy, since there's no other sure way to avoid the virus' devastating birth defects.

The Senate voted Wednesday to move ahead with negotiations with the House on a measure to fund the government’s fight against the Zika virus.

Researchers Slowly Homing In On Risk Of Zika Birth Defect

May 26, 2016

As the international epidemic of Zika virus disease has unfolded and led to devastating birth defects for at least 1,300 children in eight countries, an agonizing question has persisted: What is the chance that an infected pregnant woman will have a baby with these defects?

When Zika Hits, A Push For Birth Control And Abortion?

May 12, 2016
Eric Gay/Associated Press / Associated Press Photo

There's little doubt: Zika is coming to the continental United States, bringing frightening birth defects — and, most likely, newly urgent discussions about abortion and contraception.

As scientists struggle to understand the threat posed by Zika virus, there's another viral infection that's a known danger in pregnancy and that harms 100,000 babies a year, even though it has been preventable with a vaccine since 1969.

The disease is rubella, or German measles. Like Zika, the rubella virus often causes either a mild rash or no symptoms at all.

Florida is up to 50 cases of Zika virus, including six in Central Florida.

Obama Sends Congress $1.9B Request To Combat Zika Virus

Feb 23, 2016
WMFE

President Barack Obama Monday sent lawmakers an official $1.9 billion request to combat the spread of the Zika virus in Latin America and the U.S.

Health Officials: 3 In Florida Have Zika Virus

Jan 20, 2016

The Florida Department of Health has confirmed three cases of Zika virus in Florida, including two in Miami-Dade County and one in Hillsborough County.

Pregnant women worry about all kinds of things. Can I drink alcohol? (No.) Can I take antidepressants? (Maybe.) Can I do the downward dog? (Yes.)