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Apr 14, 2016 07:40 AM EDT

Zika Virus Officially Confirmed As Cause Of Microcephaly Birth Defect: CDC

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A new report released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that scientists have found a clear link between the Zika virus and microcephaly as well as other infant brain defects.

The connection has been suspected for months since the Zika outbreak in Brazil, but experts are saying that the evidence is clear. Mothers that have the Zika virus will give birth to microcephalic babies. However, the findings on Zika virus could only be scratching the surface.

"It is now clear that the virus causes microcephaly. We are also launching further studies to determine whether children who have microcephaly born to mothers infected by the Zika virus is the tip of the iceberg of what we could see in damaging effects on the brain and other developmental problems," CDC director Tom Frieden said in a statement. The analysis of the study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.


New York Times reports that the findings could increase the prevention and treatment budget for Zika virus. More than 600 individuals in the United States are affected by the Zika virus including 69 pregnant women. The CDC announcement could prompt more people to be more aware and alarmed by the Zika virus, according to study author Dr. Sonja A. Rasmussen.

The experts are doing their best to find what the Zika virus could also be doing aside from causing microcephaly in babies. The virus was previously believed to only being spread via mosquito bites. However, there have been studies that found that Zika can be passed from person to person via sexual transmission.

"We cannot rule out the possibility that transmission occurred not through semen but through other biologic fluids, such as pre-ejaculate secretions or saliva exchanged through deep kissing," Dr. Eric D'Ortenzio said, as reported by NBC News.

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