Public health officials race to find answers, develop a vaccine
Jessica Wilson/Science Source
WASHINGTON — As worry about the Zika virus outbreak continues to ratchet up, scientists are scrambling to understand what threats the virus poses and how to stop it from spreading. But researchers are coming up with more questions than answers.
“It clearly is a cause for huge concern,” World Health Organization official Christopher Dye said February 12 in a news conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Since May 2015, the mosquito-borne virus has steamrolled through Brazil — infecting potentially 1.3 million people — and spread to at least 25 other countries and territories in the Americas. Public health officials have linked Zika virus to several deaths and a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome. And evidence is mounting that Zika is to blame for Brazil’s recent spike in babies born with undersized heads and malformed brains (