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Zika Damages Babies' Brains After Birth

👤by NBCNews.com 0 comments 🕔Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Assessment of a Series of 13 Infants with Congenital Zika Virus Infection without Microcephaly at Birth. CDC

"Infants with normal head circumference at birth have brain and other abnormalities associated with congenital Zika syndrome and might develop microcephaly after birth. These findings demonstrate the importance of early neuroimaging for infants exposed to Zika virus prenatally and the need for comprehensive medical and developmental follow-up."

It's not clear what's happening. Zika could be causing a long-term infection in the brain or it could damage immature cells in the womb, that then do not go on to develop into normal tissue as they should as the baby grows after being born.

"These findings demonstrate the importance of early neuroimaging for infants exposed to Zika virus prenatally and the need for comprehensive medical and developmental follow-up."

Zika has spread across Latin America, the Caribbean and is causing smaller outbreaks in south Florida. Some countries have reporting matching epidemics of microcephaly and other birth defects.

Related:

Zika Affected Woman's Memory

In the United States, the CDC reports more than 4,200 cases of Zika, nearly all carried by travelers from other areas. Florida reports more than 200 locally-acquired cases, spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquitos that thrive in Florida.

Florida officials cleared on area of Miami Beach where Zika had been spreading.

"The newly cleared area, which is about three miles, is between 28th to 63rd streets. The last known person contracted Zika in this area on September 27th," the state health department said in a statement.

"The remaining area of active Zika transmission in Miami Beach is about 1.5 square miles between 8th and 28th streets."

Related:

Images Show Zika's Destruction of Babies' Brains

In Florida, 160 pregnant women have been infected with Zika. More than 1,000 pregnant women in the U.S. have been infected. Health experts say their babies will need to be monitored for years.

There's no cure for Zika and the brain damage it causes is permanent.

The CDC says pregnant women or those who could become pregnant should avoid Zika zones.

"All of Miami-Dade remains a yellow area and pregnant women are eligible for Zika virus testing. All pregnant women in the United States should be evaluated for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit," the CDC advises.

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