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Zika: Scientists Warn of Global Microcephaly 'Epidemic' After Study Shows Strong Links to Virus

A baby with microcephaly at a rehabilitation centre in Recife, Brazil.  Reuters: Ueslei Marcelino

CLICK HERE - The Lancet Infectious Diseases - Association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly in Brazil, January to May, 2016: preliminary report of a case-control study

abc.net.au - AFP - September 15, 2016

Scientists are warning that the world should prepare for a "global epidemic" of microcephaly, a birth defect where a baby's head is smaller than usual, as the Zika virus spreads to new countries.

Key points:

Researchers say microcephaly epidemic will spread to all countries with Zika

Scientists recommend Zika be added to list of congenital birth infections

Not all study babies with microcephaly had abnormalities show in brain scans

The warning comes after researchers in Brazil and Britain found further evidence to link the condition with Zika virus, a connection already widely accepted in medical circles.

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World Health Organisation Should Outsource Key Duties, Experts Say

         

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical staff tackle Ebola in Kailahun, Sierra Leone. The outbreak killed 11,000 people. Photograph: Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images

British Medical Journal report advises fundamental overhaul of the WHO to avoid loss of funding, warning it is at risk of repeating mistakes of the Ebola crisis

CLICK HERE - British Medical Journal - Outsourcing: how to reform WHO for the 21st century

theguardian.com - by Harriet Grant - September 12, 2016

Global public health experts have called for “fundamental and extensive reform” of the World Health Organisation (WHO) including major outsourcing of key activities, warning that the organisation is already at risk of repeating the mistakes it made in handling the Ebola crisis.

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What Doctors Learned From 42 Infants With Microcephaly

           

Infants born with microcephaly are held by mothers at a meeting for mothers of children with special needs in Recife, Brazil.  Mario Tama/Getty Images

CLICK HERE - CDC - Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) - Early Growth and Neurologic Outcomes of Infants with Probable Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome

npr.org - by Susan Brink - September 14, 2016

"These babies do not catch up as they grow," says Dr. Antonia Augusto Moura da Silva of the Federal University of Maranhao, Sao Luis, Brazil.

He's describing the findings from a study of 48 babies whose mothers were believed to have been infected with the Zika virus. Forty-two of the children were diagnosed with microcephaly. The study, on the early neurological growth pattern of the infants, will be published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases in November but was released early online.

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As Zika Spreads In Asia, Study Shows Virus May Also Infect Adult Brain Cells

           

A new study demonstrates that Zika can affect adult brain cells in mice, suggesting that the effects of Zika could be bigger than currently presumed. (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

CLICK HERE - Cell Stem Cell - Zika Virus Infects Neural Progenitors in the Adult Mouse Brain and Alters Proliferation

CLICK HERE - Singapore - Minister of Health (MOH) - Sequencing of Zika Virus Strains From Sims Drive/ Aljunied Crescent Cluster

forbes.com - by Tim Chen - September 12, 2016

As concerns rise over the spread of the Zika virus in Southeast Asia, a new study from the Rockefeller University, published in Cell Stem Cell, found that the virus can also affect adult brain cells in mice — suggesting the potential for Zika to hold long-term neurological implications for adult humans.

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2.6 Billion People Could Be at Risk of Zika, Scientists Say

           

A pest control worker fumigates the grounds of a residential estate in the Bedok North area of Singapore on Sept. 1, 2016.  Roslan Rahman—AFP/Getty Images

CLICK HERE - Potential for Zika virus introduction and transmission in resource-limited countries in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region: a modelling study

time.com - by Maria Cheng - September 1, 2016

Scientists are trying to figure out where Zika might gain a future foothold

(LONDON) — Scientists trying to predict the future path of Zika say that 2.6 billion people living in parts of Asia and Africa could be at risk of infection, based on a new analysis of travel, climate and mosquito patterns in those regions.

Some of the most vulnerable countries include India, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to the research. . . .

. . . The study was published online Thursday in the journal, Lancet.

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WHO - Zika Causality Statement - 7 September 2016

                                                  

who.int - 7 September 2016

Zika virus infection: update on the evidence for a causal link to congenital brain abnormalities and Guillain-Barré syndrome

Update of WHO Statement published on 31 March 2016

Since 2013, an unexpected rise in the number of reported cases of the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome2 (GBS) in French Polynesia, Brazil and other countries in the Americas led specialists to infer a link with an ongoing outbreak of Zika virus infection. Reports of unexpected increases in cases of microcephaly in north-eastern Brazil also led to the suggestion of a link to Zika virus infection in late 2015. On 1 December 2015, PAHO/WHO published an alert regarding the implications for public health of the detection of neurological syndromes and congenital malformations in the context of epidemic transmission of Zika virus in Brazil. On 1 February 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the clusters of cases of microcephaly and neurological disorders occurring in areas with Zika virus transmission constituted a public health emergency of international concern.

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Zika’s Persistence in the Eye May Play a Role in Spreading the Virus, Study Finds

           

Daniele Santos holds her baby Juan Pedro, who has microcephaly, on May 30 in Recife, Brazil. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

CLICK HERE - Cell Reports - Zika Virus Infection in Mice Causes Panuveitis with Shedding of Virus in Tears

washingtonpost.com - by Lena H. Sun - September 6, 2016

Researchers have found that the Zika virus can live in eyes, and research in mice may help explain why some Zika patients develop eye disease, including a condition that can lead to permanent vision loss.

In a study published Tuesday in Cell Reports, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis describe the effect of Zika virus infections in the eyes of mouse fetuses, newborns and adults.

The study suggests that the eye could be a reservoir for the virus. Eye infection raises the possibility that people could become infected with Zika through contact with tears from infected people, they said.

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Ebola Cluster Traced to Sexual Transmission 15 Months After Man's Illness

cidrap.umn.edu - September 2, 2016

A cluster of Ebola cases in Guinea earlier this year has been traced to sexual transmission from a man who had recovered from the disease close to 15 months earlier, marking the longest known period of sexual transmissibility after recovery from the disease.

"Evidence for sexual transmission of the persisting EBOV in February 2016, about 470 days after onset of symptoms in the survivor, is compelling," says the report by an international team of researchers, published yesterday in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The cluster involved 3 probable and 7 confirmed cases in Guinea, with 8 deaths, in February, March, and April of this year, the report says.

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CLICK HERE - CID - Resurgence of Ebola virus disease in Guinea linked to a survivor with virus persistence in seminal fluid for more than 500 days

 

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WHO Continues Zika Emergency Amid Virus Spread, Unanswered Questions

cidrap.umn.edu - by Lisa Schnirring  - September 2, 2016

WHO panel cites virus spread, research gaps
CLICK HERE - WHO - Fourth meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) regarding microcephaly, other neurological disorders and Zika virus 

CDC funds for microcephaly, birth defects
CLICK HERE - CDC awards $2.4 million to five jurisdictions to fight Zika

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that its Zika emergency committee, which met yesterday, has recommended keeping the public health emergency in place, as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced $2.4 million in funding to help five of the nation's most populated cities detect and manage Zika-related birth defects.

CDC-Colombia effort, Singapore cases, brain cell infection
In other new Zika developments, the CDC announced a formal research collaboration with Colombia, Singapore reported more Zika cases, and researchers revealed possible differences in brain cell infections between the two Zika lineages.

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Study Finds Increase in Temporary Paralysis Accompanied Zika Outbreaks

           

Zulay Balza, right, recovering from Guillain-Barre syndrome in February at a hospital in Colombia. Ms. Balza did not show symptoms of the Zika virus; only one in five infected people do. Credit Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

CLICK HERE - NEJM - Zika Virus and the Guillain–Barré Syndrome — Case Series from Seven Countries

nytimes.com - by Catherine Saint Louis - August 31, 2016

In seven countries that recently experienced Zika outbreaks, there were also sharp increases in the numbers of people suffering from a form of temporary paralysis, researchers reported Wednesday.

The analysis, published online in The New England Journal of Medicine, adds to substantial evidence that Zika infections — even asymptomatic ones — may bring on a paralysis called Guillain-Barré syndrome.

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