A New Government Report Finds the Zika Virus Caused a Big Uptick in Serious Birth Defects in 2016 – Pacific Standard

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The surge is also expected to show up in last year’s data.

A doctor measures the head of a baby with microcephaly.

A doctor measures the head of a baby with microcephaly.

In parts of the United States where there was active transmission of Zika virus last year, there was an uptick of 21 percent in the number of babies found to have serious birth defects, scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found.

The increase amounted to an additional 29 fetuses and infants in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico found to have birth defects affecting the central nervous system and brain, including brain, eye, and joint problems and microcephaly, or abnormally small heads. (In a typical six-month span, researchers would expect 140 infants in these regions to have these birth defects, but in June through December of 2016, local health departments reported 169.)*



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