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  • News

    Zika infection late in pregnancy may be not so risky

    Early results from Zika cases tracked in Colombia suggest that the viral infection late in pregnancy is not linked to microcephaly, a birth defect that leaves infants with abnormally small heads and brains.

    In a group of 1,850 pregnant women reportedly infected with the virus during the third trimester, more than 90 percent have given birth to babies without “apparent abnormalities,” ...

    06/15/2016 - 17:05 Health
  • News

    Scientists wrestle with possibility of second Zika-spreading mosquito

    Sure, mosquitoes spread Zika virus. Scientists have already identified the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) as a major spreader in the Americas of Zika and its risk of birth defects and possible paralysis. But Ae. aegypti may not be the only culprit. Recent evidence raises concerns that a relative, the Asian tiger mosquito (Ae. albopictus), might also play a role.

    A Mexican lab, for...

    05/16/2016 - 16:30 Biomedicine, Animals
  • Science Ticker

    This week in Zika: First mouse study proof that Zika causes microcephaly

    In case there were any lingering doubts, three new studies published May 11 could cement the theory that Zika virus infection in utero causes birth defects.

    One shows that mice engineered to be susceptible to Zika can pass the virus to offspring via the placenta. In these pregnant mice, which have severely crippled immune systems, Zika infection can kill fetuses and developing brain...

    05/11/2016 - 13:00 Health, Microbiology
  • Science Ticker

    This week in Zika: An anniversary, how the virus kills brain cells and more

    One year ago, Brazil reported the first laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika.

    The virus had cropped up elsewhere in a few earlier outbreaks, too, but it didn’t seem all that threatening at the time. Zika symptoms were generally pretty mild — or even nonexistent, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization reported in an epidemiological alert May 7, 2015. The...

    05/06/2016 - 12:00 Health, Microbiology
  • Science Ticker

    This week in Zika: Haiti hit early, possible monkey hosts, and more

    As the threat of a Zika outbreak in the United States creeps steadily closer, ideas about how to handle the virus continue to clash. 

    Congress has yet to agree to President Barack Obama’s February request for $1.9 billion in emergency funding to address the threat, leaving states scrambling to protect residents. And thousands of Floridians have banded together against a proposed field...

    04/29/2016 - 12:54 Health, Microbiology
  • Science Ticker

    This week in Zika: Assessing risk, mosquito range, a transmission first and more

    The big Zika news this week was the announcement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that yes, the virus can indeed cause microcephaly and other birth defects. 

    This confirmation came as no surprise (scientists have been building a case against Zika for months), but it could be just the push Congress needs to authorize emergency funding for Zika research and response...

    04/15/2016 - 15:52 Health, Microbiology
  • Science Ticker

    Zika’s role as a cause of severe birth defects confirmed

    It’s official: Zika virus causes microcephaly and other birth defects.

    A new analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms what many earlier studies had suggested: The virus, typically passed via the bite of an infected mosquito, can travel from a pregnant woman to her fetus and wreak havoc in the brain. 

    “There is no longer any doubt that Zika causes...

    04/13/2016 - 17:54 Health, Microbiology
  • Feature

    Special Report: Here's what we know about Zika

    View interactive map

    A stealth virus, most often borne on the wings of a ubiquitous predator, is spreading across the Americas. Zika virus is the latest of several that are carried by mosquitoes. But Zika isn’t a new foe. Discovered in Uganda in 1947 in a rhesus monkey (during an infectious-disease study), the virus was found in humans a decade later in Nigeria.

    Special report: Zika...
    03/18/2016 - 15:40 Health, Science & Society
  • Feature

    How Zika became the prime suspect in microcephaly mystery

    The prime suspect in Brazil’s recent surge in birth defects may be convicted this summer, in the sweltering cities of Colombia.

    That’s when the first big wave of pregnant women infected with Zika virus last fall will begin to give birth. Whether or not these babies are born with shrunken brains, a condition known as microcephaly, may offer the best evidence yet of  Zika’s guilt — or...

    03/18/2016 - 07:00 Health, Science & Society
  • Feature

    Efforts to control mosquitoes take on new urgency

    Brazil, now a poster child for mosquito-borne virus spread, was once a model for mosquito eradication.

    “It was amazing,” says Dan Strickman, medical entomologist with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, today identified by epidemiologists as one of the carriers of the Zika virus, was attacked in the 1930s with the simple tools then available. By 1965, the...

    03/17/2016 - 10:42 Biomedicine, Animals, Science & Society