There is a new virus called ZIKA which is running rampant in Brazil. Since this past November there have been 4,180 cases reported. Two pregnant women from Illinois have tested positive for this virus.Both were vacationing in Brazil.
One lady in the United States who returned from Brazil her Hawaiian baby was born with microcephaly.
Here are some important things to know:
What is Zika and why is it so serious?
The Zika virus is a flavivirus, part of the same family as yellow fever, West Nile, chikungunya and dengue. But unlike some of those viruses, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika or medicine to treat the infection.
Zika is commanding worldwide attention because of an alarming connection between the virus and microcephaly, a neurological disorder that results in babies being born with abnormally small heads. This causes severe developmental issues and sometimes death.
What is the Zika virus?
Since November, Brazil has seen 4,180 cases of microcephaly in babies born to women who were infected with Zika during their pregnancies. To put that in perspective, there were only 146 cases in 2014. So far, 51 babies have died.
Other Latin American countries are now seeing cases in newborns as well, while in the United States one Hawaiian baby was born with microcephaly after his mother returned from Brazil. In Illinois, two pregnant women who traveled to Latin America have tested positive for the virus; health officials are monitoring their pregnancies.
The CDC is also asking OB-GYNs to review fetal ultrasounds and do maternal testing for any pregnant woman who has traveled to one of the 24 countries where Zika is currently active.
A smaller outbreak of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that can lead to life-threatening paralysis, is also linked to Zika in a several countries.