Researchers strengthen link between Zika and microcephaly

//Researchers strengthen link between Zika and microcephaly

Researchers strengthen link between Zika and microcephaly

By | 2016-09-16T05:49:41+00:00 September 16th, 2016|Health|0 Comments

A first-of-its-kind study is strengthening the case that Zika is the culprit behind Brazil’s mysterious surge in babies born with microcephaly.

Preliminary results from a study commissioned by the Brazilian Ministry of Health found that 13 out of 32 newborns with microcephaly tested positive for the Zika virus. Meanwhile, none of the 62 newborns in a comparison group who had normal-sized heads showed any sign of infection.

The findings, reported Thursday in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, are the first to emerge from a longer-term effort to study 200 infants with microcephaly and compare each of them with two unaffected controls from the same region who were conceived at about the same time. Given the magnitude of the health crisis posed by Zika, the team decided to report interim results of babies who joined the study between mid-January and early May.

The babies in the study were recruited from eight hospitals in and around Recife, a “hotspot of the microcephaly epidemic in Brazil,” according to an editorial that accompanies the study. Each infant with microcephaly had a head circumference at least two standard deviations smaller than the average for his or her gestational age and gender. In fact, all but two of them had a head circumference that was three standard deviations smaller than average.

karen.kaplan@latimes.com

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