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Birth Defects Tied to Zika in Panama – NY Times

Panama has reported its first case of birth defects associated with the Zika virus, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday — new evidence of the epidemic’s potentially dangerous effects spreading throughout the region.


Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of W.H.O., said a baby with an unusually small head and brain damage — a condition called microcephaly — was born at 30 weeks’ gestation in Panama and died a few hours later. Local investigators found evidence of the Zika virus in the umbilical cord.

Dr. Chan was providing an update on the Zika virus and its spread in the Americas.

Scientists around the world are waiting to see whether more pregnant women who become infected eventually give birth to babies with microcephaly.

“The knowledge base is building very rapidly,” Dr. Chan said. “The more we know, the worse things look.”

So far, a surge of cases has been documented only in Brazil. In most other countries where Zika infections have spread, pregnant women who might have been exposed have yet to give birth.

Click here to read the full article by Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times.