The US health watchdog has concluded that mounting evidence proves that the zika virus causes microcephaly in newborns.
US health officials warned this week the Zika outbreak could have more of an effect on the United States and called for additional funding to combat the virus.
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RT reports: After months of scientific study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that there is now enough evidence to clearly establish that the Zika virus causes microcephaly in the newborn offspring of infected mothers.
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To determine the cause and effect link between adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, the team of scientists evaluated available scientific data.
“On the basis of this review, we conclude that a causal relationship exists between prenatal Zika virus infection and microcephaly and other serious brain anomalies,” the report published by the New England Journal of Medicine said.
Among the evidence that clinched the case for the CDC was that virus has been found in the spinal fluid, the brain tissue, and amniotic fluid of microcephaly babies.
“This study marks a turning point in the Zika outbreak,” CDC director Tom Frieden said in a statement. “It is now clear that the virus causes microcephaly.”
Yet at the same time, the CDC stressed that the new report notes that “no single piece of evidence provides conclusive proof that Zika virus infection is a cause of microcephaly and other fetal brain defects.”
Instead, the US watchdog said that the conclusions were based on “increasing evidence” from studies that when examined using “established scientific criteria” support the authors’ conclusions.
Dr Frieden said that intensive research was under way to find out much more about the mosquito-borne virus and to develop a vaccine for it, although he warned that that could still be years away.
Meanwhile in a separate study by Brazilian doctors “severe” birth defects were found to be associated with Zika
Brazil’s health ministry said this week that the total number of confirmed and suspected cases of microcephaly in the country was 4,949. The officials also announced that they will temporarily let lose genetically modified mosquitoes developed by a British firm to battle the infected mosquito population.
Oxford-based Oxitec welcomed the a special temporary registration (RET, Registro Especial Temporário) and will soon let lose their GM creations into the wild. Its genetically engineered male mosquito is designed to pass on faulty genes to Zika-infected females, so that their offspring won’t be able to reproduce, thus, halting the spread of the disease.