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Brazil scientists believe ZIKV more dangerous than previously thought

Published:Monday | May 2, 2016 | 11:06 AM

Scientists in Brazil say the mosquito-borne Zika virus (ZIKV) may be even more dangerous than previously thought.

Most doctors and medical researchers now agreeing that there is a link between the Zika virus and microcephaly, where babies are born with abnormally small heads because of restricted brain development.

It is estimated that one per cent of women who have had Zika during pregnancy will have a child with microcephaly.

However, leading doctors in Brazil have told the BBC that as many as 20 per cent of Zika-affected pregnancies will result in a range of other forms of brain damage to the baby in the womb.

A separate study, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, said 29 per cent of scans showed abnormalities in babies in the womb, including growth restrictions, in women infected with Zika.

Zika continues to spread across the Latin American and Caribbean region.

Jamaica has so far confirmed eight Zika cases.

Earlier this year, the health ministry advised women to delay pregnancy for the next six to twelve months in light of the link between the Zika virus and brain damage in babies.