Zika Virus and Global Implications for Reproductive Health Reforms
Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness DOI: 10.1017/dmp.2016.34
3 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2016
Date Written: March 9, 2016
The rapid global spread of Zika virus, especially in developing countries in Latin America, presents new and significant risks to the public’s health, notably among pregnant women and their infants. Zika virus is predominantly spread via the Aedes species of mosquitos, but sexual transmission between infected males and their female partners has also been shown. While related morbidity of Zika virus remains uncertain, credible evidence is growing of the link between infection of women and potentially disabling mental and physical impairments of their fetuses. Public health scientists are virtually sure that increased rates of microcephaly (abnormally small skulls and brains) among thousands of Brazilian infants over the past several months are tied to Zika infection. New evidence of vision, hearing, and long-term mental health disabilities among Zika-affected babies is also mounting.
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