Zika virus causes syndrome of devastating birth defects

Florida health authorities count 133 pregnant women infected with virus


MIAMI – As Zika continues to spread in Florida, researchers released more details about the pattern of birth defects now known as the Zika syndrome and how the virus could be linked to infertility in men. 

At least 1,005 pregnant women in 50 states have been infected. As of Friday, Florida reported there were 1,128 reported infections -- including 133 involving pregnant women.

Authorities claim 25 babies have been born in the U.S. with Zika-related defects. 

Meanwhile, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers described the birth defects in a report released Thursday in JAMA Pediatrics

Most of the descriptions of Zika-affected babies' suffering from the congenital syndrome are from Brazil, the hardest-hit country. As the babies grow, doctors expect to discover more anomalies. 

  • Severe microcephaly with a partly collapsed skull.
  • Decreased brain tissue and brain damage.
  • Damage to the back of the eye.
  • Joints with limited range of motion.
  • Too much muscle tone.
  • Harm to the nervous system

University of Washington researchers published a study in Nature saying they believe the virus could cause irreversible damage to testicles. Their study involved mice infected with a strain of the virus. Some developed low testosterone levels and sperm counts. 

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