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

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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

By
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.

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