The CDC has announced that the Zika virus is “scarier” than first thought and its impact on the US could be greater than predicted. The mosquito that harbors the illness has been found in 30 states and with mosquito season coming, immediate prevention and research is critical.
A wider range of birth defects has been linked to the virus than previously thought. Zika has been linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil and has spread widely through the Americas. Zika has also been linked to the autoimmune nervous disorder Guillain-Barré and now scientists are starting to see connections to other neurological conditions as well. This has included a case of acute myelitis (an inflammation of the spinal cord), meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain and its outer membranes); and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). ADEM is a “brief but widespread attack of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord.
There have been 346 confirmed cases of Zika in the continental United States,
The CDC announced that Puerto Rico is to receive $3.9m in emergency Zika funding as the number of cases there doubles every week. In February, the first US case of locally transmitted Zika was reported in Dallas, Texas – spread through sexual contact, not a mosquito bite.