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On 14th April 2016 Dr Tom Frieden, the head of the CDC, confirmed that the Zika Virus does indeed cause Microcephaly and several other birth defects in babies. He stated that 'This study marks a turning point in the Zika outbreak. It is now clear that the virus causes microcephaly'. The Zika virus was previously beleived to have caused the birth defects seen in newborn babies, characterized by unusually small heads, but this has now been confirmed by the CDC.

The tenfold increase in microcephaly, in newborn children in Brazil, coincided with the arrival of the previously unknown Zika virus to the region. 4,107 suspected cases have been reported as of February 2016.

Between October 2015 and February 2016, there have been 120 suspected microcephaly related infant deaths in Brazil. The Zika Virus has now spread to nearly all the countries in Southern America and across the region. Zika Virus Map

Microcephaly is a neurological disorder in which the child affected has an abnormally small head which may be due to a failure of brain growth.This may result in motor and learning difficulties, among other problems, as the babies develop.

Pregnant women and women trying to conceive have been advised by the CDC to avoid areas with Zika Virus outbreaks or to delay pregnancies if living within these areas.

An added complication of the Zika Virus is the fact that the virus may be communicable through sex or blood transfusions. These cases are currently being investigated by health authorities in Brazil, the CDC and the World Health Organization.

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