Q: Why is microcephaly thought to be linked to Zika virus?
A: Microcephaly cases seem to have increased in the zone of the Zika outbreak. But also, the virus has been detected in stillborn children with microcephaly, as well as in the amniotic fluid.
The link between Zika and microcephaly is highly likely, but has not yet been proven scientifically. - Delfraissy A: This is a very new situation. Until a few months ago we did not know that Zika could cause congenital infections (which are present from birth) and microcephaly. It caught us all by surprise.
The evidence for the link is relatively strong, and considered strong enough to warrant public health measures.
- Laura Rodrigues of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, via the Science Media Centre.
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Q: What are we doing to learn more?
A: Studies are underway in French Polynesia, where a Zika outbreak ocurred around the end of 2013 – beginning of 2014, to better understand how the virus may affect foetuses. In Martinique, where there is an outbreak right now, a trial group of pregnant women is being put together for study.