Year in review: Zika virus devastates Brazil and spreads fear across Americas | Science News


Help us keep you informed.

Real Science. Real News.


Year in review: Zika virus devastates Brazil and spreads fear across Americas

The virus, little-known until this year, led to an upsurge in birth defects in Brazil

7:40am, December 14, 2016
Brazilian woman with child

ZIKA'S INFLUENCE A young woman holds her daughter, born with microcephaly, outside their home in Recife, Brazil. Researchers this year linked the upsurge in microcephaly cases in Brazil to the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

A Brazilian mother cradles her baby girl under a bruised purple sky. The baby’s face is scrunched up, mouth open wide — like any other crying child. But her head is smaller than normal, as if her skull has collapsed above her eyebrows.

A week earlier, not far away, a doctor wrapped a measuring tape around the forehead of a 1-month-old boy, held in the arms of his grandmother. This baby too has a shrunken head, a birth defect whose name — microcephaly — has now become seared into the public consciousness.

These images and many more told a harrowing story that case reports alone couldn’t convey: A little-known mosquito-borne virus called Zika appeared to be taking a terrible toll on women and babies, and their families. The world got a gut-wrenching view of

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content