JAN 20, 2016 02:27 PM PST

Zika Virus Hits Home in Hawaii

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
3 8 1231

Thinking of a winter escape to the South American tropics? If you're pregnant, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is advising you to think twice.

The advisory comes after many months of following the spread of the Zika virus from Brazil through the Caribbean islands, Central, and South America. Most recently, a pregnant woman in Hawaii was reported to have delivered a baby that may have been infected with the virus.

Zika virus is spread by the Aedes genus of mosquitoes. People can't infect other people with Zika, but they can serve as the intermediary source for more Zika infections by the mosquitoes. In adults, infection with the virus can bring no symptoms at all or cause mild cold-like symptoms, such as fever and headaches. However, in pregnant mothers, the virus has been linked to babies being born with microcephaly - a condition marked by abnormally small heads and brains. Over 4,000 cases of Zika-linked microcephalic births were reported for Brazil last year.

There are currently no vaccines or treatments for Zika. And researchers don't exactly know the mechanism behind how Zika affects humans. Until this is worked out, the link between Zika and birth defects remains just that - a link. But health officials warn pregnant women to not take chances, and Brazilian officials are going as far as advising women to delay pregnancy if possible.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JUL 08, 2018
Videos
JUL 08, 2018
They Say an Elephant Never Forgets...
They say an elephant never forgets, but is this really true? It’s a question that scientists have been trying to answer for ages, and as it turns out
JUL 17, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUL 17, 2018
Ammonia the Next Renewable Fuel?
The most obvious drawback of renewable energy such as solar and wind energy is that their production lacks continuity. A solution is to convert the electri
JUL 24, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUL 24, 2018
How Does It Taste? Want Some Salt (and Microplastics)?
Looks can be very deceiving: pristine, pure-like grains of sea salt can be the perfect trojan horse for the invasion of the omnipresent environmental villa
JUL 30, 2018
Videos
JUL 30, 2018
A Robotic Helping Hand
Ever wish you had a way to get more done? Scientists at the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute in Kyoto Japan might be able to give you a hand&
JUL 30, 2018
Videos
JUL 30, 2018
Identifying Symptoms of a Heat Stroke
A heat stroke is when the body loses its ability to cool itself and the body’s core temperature becomes dangerously high. For some individuals, a hea
AUG 04, 2018
Videos
AUG 04, 2018
A Radical New Approach to Treating Neurodegeneration
The pathways that neural impulses travel can't be retrieved once they're lost... or can they?
Loading Comments...