Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Brazil Mobilizes Against Outbreak of Mosquito-Borne Virus

Brazil mobilizes against outbreak of mosquito-borne virus

(The Washington Post) - Jusikelly da Silva was full of expectations for her baby. This was to be her fourth with her spouse, Josenildo, and the couple had three other children from previous relationships. "All perfect, all normal," her husband said of their family.

Then, at the six-month mark of her pregnancy, Jusikelly, 32, learned from a scan that her baby had microcephaly, a rare defect that causes infants to have unusually small heads and can lead to learning and motor difficulties.

Parents such as the da Silvas are struggling as South America's largest country faces an unprecedented outbreak of microcephaly cases. Brazilian officials say that disease is being triggered by Zika - a little known virus borne by mosquitoes. The government has spent more than $300 million to battle the mosquito, mobilizing hundreds of soldiers in the effort.

Concern about Zika has grown so strong that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Friday issued a travel alert urging pregnant women not to visit Brazil or about a dozen other countries in the region where mosquitoes have spread the virus.

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