News / Health

    WHO: Months Needed to Establish Link Between Zika, Microcephaly

    FILE - Glecion Fernando holds his 2-month-old son, Guilherme Soares Amorim, who was born with microcephaly, in Ipojuca, Brazil, Feb. 1, 2016.
    FILE - Glecion Fernando holds his 2-month-old son, Guilherme Soares Amorim, who was born with microcephaly, in Ipojuca, Brazil, Feb. 1, 2016.
    Lisa Schlein

    Evidence is piling up of a causal link between the Zika virus and both microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome, according to the World Health Organization.

    WHO reports show that more than 40 countries in four of the WHO's six regions have recorded Zika virus infections while only two places — Brazil and French Polynesia — have shown an increase in microcephaly cases. 

    The situation is particularly serious in Brazil, which has recorded more than 4,700 cases of babies born with abnormally small heads and brains.

    In addition, the WHO has confirmed eight countries where the Zika virus is present and cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome have been reported.

    In the case of microcephaly, valuable information is likely to emerge from some 5,000 pregnant women in Colombia who are infected with the Zika virus, Bruce Aylward, the WHO's executive director of outbreaks and health emergencies, told VOA.

    The first cases occurred in October, he said, and infections are on the rise.

    FILE - Mothers with their children, who have microcephaly, await medical care at the Hospital Oswaldo Cruz, in Recife, Brazil, Jan. 26, 2016.
    FILE - Mothers with their children, who have microcephaly, await medical care at the Hospital Oswaldo Cruz, in Recife, Brazil, Jan. 26, 2016.

    "Now, women who would have been exposed at that time would probably in the first trimester, [and] would probably deliver in June. So, that is obviously four or five months away,” Aylward said. “So, that is why … it could take six to nine months. … So, you are probably looking at midsummer at the longest."

    Several autopsies performed on babies with microcephaly have shown the presence of the Zika virus, he said. Autopsies on people who have died of Guillain-Barre syndrome have turned up similar results.

    The WHO is taking the approach of, as Aylward puts it, considering "the virus guilty until proven innocent" because of the devastating potential consequences resulting from Zika.

    In the meantime, the WHO says the best way to prevent the virus from spreading is for communities to remove standing water where mosquitoes breed. The health agency urges people, especially pregnant women, to protect themselves by using insect repellent, wearing long clothes to prevent bites, sleeping under mosquito nets, and screening off doors and windows.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora