Wed | Jun 20, 2018

UN: ZIKV link to small-head condition 'circumstantial'

Published:Tuesday | January 26, 2016 | 11:52 AM
In this December 23, 2015, file photo, 10-year-old Elison nurses his two-month-old brother Jose Wesley, who was born with microcephaly, at their house in Poco Fundo, Pernambuco state, Brazil.


The World Health Organization says it suspects a link between the mosquito-borne Zika virus (ZIKV) and a rare birth defect that gives babies abnormally small heads, but says so far the evidence is circumstantial.

WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier says the "big task" is to try to establish a link between the virus and microcephaly, which involves abnormally small heads in newborns and can affect brain development.

He said the UN agency plans a special session Thursday on the virus during a Geneva meeting of its executive board. He said the virus has been associated with close to 4,000 microcephaly cases in Brazil, and El Salvador, Panama, Colombia and Cape Verde also have "large outbreaks."

Lindmeier told reporters today the "huge increase" of Zika cases "gives a lot of reason for concern."