JAN 20, 2016 2:27 PM PST

Zika Virus Hits Home in Hawaii

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

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
DEC 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
3M Helps Solve Polar Bear Tracking Problem
DEC 10, 2020
3M Helps Solve Polar Bear Tracking Problem
As climate change continues to alter the Arctic landscape, polar bear research becomes more urgent. Observing animals in ...
MAR 06, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Find Tectonic Activity on Exoplanet
MAR 06, 2021
Astronomers Find Tectonic Activity on Exoplanet
For the first time, researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland have found evidence of tectonic activity on a ...
MAR 31, 2021
Plants & Animals
Spring Winds Following Warmer Winters Cause Mass Jellyfish Strandings
MAR 31, 2021
Spring Winds Following Warmer Winters Cause Mass Jellyfish Strandings
Beachgoers are certainly not fond of jellyfish in the water, but seeing hundreds of them wash ashore is an interesting a ...
APR 01, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Detect X-rays from Uranus for First Time
APR 01, 2021
Astronomers Detect X-rays from Uranus for First Time
Until now, astronomers had detected X-rays from every planet in our solar system apart from the two Ice Giants: Uranus a ...
APR 17, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Dent in Earth's Magnetic Field Caused by Buried Ancient World
APR 17, 2021
Dent in Earth's Magnetic Field Caused by Buried Ancient World
Researchers from Arizona State University have suggested that two giant blobs of rock cupping the Earth's core are l ...
JUN 17, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Chinese Astronauts Will Live on New Space Station for 3 Months
JUN 17, 2021
Chinese Astronauts Will Live on New Space Station for 3 Months
Astronauts aboard China’s first manned spacecraft in almost five years have reached the new Tiangong space station ...
Loading Comments...