April 11 —
The CDC cautions that Zika may be “scarier than we initially thought” as officials pointed to the increasing list of birth defects linked to the virus. Besides microcephaly
, cases of premature birth and blindness have been reported. The mosquitoes that could carry Zika are present in at least 30 states, and the CDC is worried that mosquito-control measures won’t be enough. They’re particularly concerned about Puerto Rico, with the potential for hundreds of thousands of new infections on the island in the coming summer months.
Reports out earlier this week also point to a possible connection between Zika and a new brain disorder similar to multiple sclerosis, which can cause problems with motor function, vision and memory.
April 4 — As Zika virus continues to spread in the South Pacific, the CDC adds Fiji to its list of countries that pregnant women should avoid.
March 31, 2016 — The World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now say that there’s a “scientific consensus” that the Zika virus is one cause of microcephaly. The WHO notes that more research is needed to find out whether other factors — like environmental exposures — combine to make the virus more dangerous in pregnancy.
March 25, 2016 — Federal authorities advise women who have the Zika virus to postpone getting pregnant for at least eight weeks after the start of their symptoms — which typically include fever, joint pain, rash or red eyes. They also caution men with the virus to wait at least six months after symptoms begin before having unprotected sex. These recommendations come after the CDC cites “mounting evidence” supporting a link between the Zika virus and microcephaly.
March 16, 2016 —
Global health experts say cities across the south, west and Atlantic coast are potentially at risk for Zika outbreaks by this summer. Up to 50 U.S cities are now at risk for a Zika outbreak
as spring temperatures warm up. Cities in Florida and along the Gulf of Mexico and Georgia and South Carolina coastlines are reported to have the highest risk. Experts caution people not to panic
, though: Thanks to the use of air conditioning and more advanced mosquito-control measures, potential outbreaks are expected to be small and localized, according to the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
March 9, 2016 — Doctors in France suggest encephalitis and meningitis, inflammation of the brain and brain covering, as potential new complications of the Zika virus.
February 5, 2016 —
Puerto Rico declares a national public health emergency over the Zika virus, citing 22 confirmed cases, including a pregnant woman and man who developed Guillain-Barre syndrome
. More cases of suspected Zika-related Guillain-Barre syndrome have been reported in other countries, including El Salvador, Brazil and French Polynesia.
February 2, 2016 — The U.S. reports its first case of suspected sexually transmitted Zika in Texas.
February 1, 2016 — In a press statement, the World Health Organization (WHO) declares Zika a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
January 22, 2016 — The CDC releases a report announcing a “possible association” between Zika and microcephaly. In their report, they note that since the virus was first identified in Brazil in early 2015, a sharp increase in cases of microcephaly had been seen in areas affected by the virus.
January 15, 2016 — The CDC issues an interim travel warning cautioning pregnant women in any trimester to avoid traveling to areas affected by Zika virus, following continued reports of microcephaly – a birth defect that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads – in infants born to mothers infected with Zika.
2015 — Brazil confirms the first outbreak of locally acquired Zika disease in the Americas. The virus begins to spread at an alarming rate throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean.
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