A few weeks ago I wrote a post All About Zika virus epidemic. The million-dollar question is does Zika cause microcephaly (or abnormally small heads and severe brain damage) in the fetus if a pregnant woman is infected with virus? At the time I wrote my first post, the evidence strongly suggested that it did but scientists were reluctant to declare a direct causal relationship.
Earlier this month, scientists at the CDC published in the New England Journal of Medicine that there is now enough evidence to confirm that:
The team from the CDC examined all the available reports and studies on the Zika virus and microcephaly and did a systematic analysis of all the evidence using a strict set of criteria to determine causality.
While no one report or piece of evidence is the “smoking gun” all of the pieces put together reveal the truth. Just like only when all the pieces of a puzzle are fit together is the whole picture clear.
This conclusion is extremely important because the risks for pregnant women are very real. The CDC has released important information for pregnant women or women who intend to become pregnant in areas were Aedes mosquitoes (Zika carrying mosquitoes) are prevalent.
It’s important to remember that while Zika does cause microcephaly is does not cause it in 100% of pregnancies. Some pregnant women bitten by Zika will have no problems with the developing fetus. One thing we still don’t know is what is the risk that the Zika will cause microcephaly and who are the mothers most in danger of this happening?
As more information is gathered on this epidemic and more scientific studies published, the more we will learn about how to fight it.