Two U.S. women report miscarriages
The CDC reports that two U.S. women who contracted the Zika virus while traveling out of the country miscarried after returning home, and the virus was found in their placentas. Miscarriages have been also reported in Brazil.
U.S. athletes should consider not attending Olympics
Reports say The United States Olympic Committee told U.S. sports federations that athletes and staff concerned for their health over the Zika virus should consider not going to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August. The message was delivered in a conference call involving USOC officials and leaders of U.S. sport federations in late January, according to two people who participated in the call. Federations were told that:
[No one one should go to Brazil] if they don’t feel comfortable going. Bottom line.
Obama asks congress for emergency funds
The White House says it will ask Congress for $1.8 billion in emergency funding to combat the Zika virus: $828 million for the CDC to increase research into Zika, monitor the disease, and improve testing programs; $250 million to expand health programs in Puerto Rico, where the virus has already taken hold; $200 million is for vaccine research; $335 million for the US Agency for International Development to support Zika control efforts abroad; and $210 million to establish a new Urgent and Emerging Threat Fund that would build readiness in case other mosquito populations — like the Aedes albopictus — start carrying Zika to new states. President Obama:
The good news is this is not like Ebola, people don’t die of Zika. A lot of people get it and don’t even know that they have it.
France curbs blood transfusions
French Health Minister Touraine says travellers coming back from any outbreak zones of the Zika virus will need to wait at least 28 days before giving blood to avoid any risk of transmission, and advises pregnant women to inform the authorities if they had travelled to any of the zones. Eighteen cases have been reported in travellers in France.
Columbia: three deaths linked to nerve disorder
Colombia says three people have died after contracting the Zika virus and developing Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare nerve disorder. The country’s Health Minister says there is a “causal connection” between Zika, the Guillain-Barre disorder and the three deaths. Health Institute says they are investigating a further six deaths for possible links to Zika.
We have confirmed and attributed three deaths to Zika. In this case, the three deaths were preceded by Guillain-Barre syndrome. Other cases (of deaths linked to Zika) are going to emerge. The world is realising that Zika can be deadly. The mortality rate is not very high, but it can be deadly.
Brazil: Zika infections from blood transfusions
Brazilian health officials say they have confirmed two cases of transmission of Zika through transfusions of blood from donors. Doctors say genetic testing confirmed that a man who received a blood transfusion using blood from a donor with Zika in March 2015 became infected with the virus, although the patient did not develop symptoms. Earlier, the health department of Campinas, an industrial city near Sao Paulo, said a man with gunshot wounds became infected with Zika after multiple blood transfusions in April 2015 that included blood donated by an infected person.
The two cases can be considered transmission of the virus through blood transfusion, with greater certainty in the first because we did genetic sequencing comparing the virus in the donor and to the virus in the recipient.
Pregnancy case confirmed in Spain
Spain’s health ministry confirms that a pregnant woman in the north-eastern Catalonia region, who recently returned from Columbia, has the virus, the first case in Europe. Spain has reported seven other cases of the virus.
All are in good health. The diagnosed cases of Zika virus in Spain… don’t risk spreading the virus in our country as they are imported cases.
Declares State of Emergency in FL counties with Zika virus
Gov. Scott declares a state of emergency in the four counties where people have been diagnosed with the Zika virus: Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Lee and Santa Rosa. Nine people have been diagnosed with Zika in Florida, though health officials believe that all of them contracted the disease outside of the U.S. Scott’s executive order requires the state health officer to “take any action necessary to protect public health” and allows the commissioner of agriculture to issue a “mosquito declaration” in the affected counties to reduce populations of the insects that can spread the disease. Scott:
Although Florida’s current nine Zika cases were travel-related, we have to ensure Florida is prepared and stays ahead of the spread of the Zika virus in our state.
Asks blood donors to wait 28 days
The American Red Cross asks prospective donors who have visited Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central or South America during the past four weeks to wait at least 28 days before giving blood. The organization says:
The risk of transmission through blood donation continues to be extremely low in the continental U.S.
First US transmission case; through sexual contact
The first known case of Zika virus transmission in the United States is reported in Dallas, TX. Officials say it was likely was contracted through sex and not a mosquito bite. The person was infected through sexual contact with someone who had traveled to Venezuela. Texas Department of State Health Services:
Case details are being evaluated, but the possibility of sexual transmission from an infected person to a non-infected person is likely in this case.
Countries warn women to delay pregnancy
Officials in four Latin American and Caribbean countries warn women to delay pregnancy as the consequences of the Zika virus outbreak for developing fetuses become more apparent. During an outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil, the nation saw an increase of nearly 4,000 infants born with microcephaly. US health authorities have warned pregnant women to avoid travelling to more than 20 countries in the Americas and beyond, where Zika cases have been registered. Colombian health minister:
We are doing this because I believe it’s a good way to communicate the risk, to tell people that there could be serious consequences.
Virus likely to spread across Americas
The WHO warns that the Zika virus is likely to spread across the Americas. The virus has already been found in 21 countries in the Caribbean, North and South America. No treatment or vaccine is available. The virus is spread through the Aedes mosquito. This mosquito is found throughout the Americas with the exceptions of Canada and Chile. 80% of infections do not show symptoms, but there seems to be a link between the virus and impaired fetal development.
First brain-damaged baby in US
The Hawaii State Department of Health says a baby born with an unusually small head and brain in an Oahu hospital had been infected with the Zika virus. The presence of the virus was confirmed by the CDC. The child’s mother was probably infected early in her pregnancy by a mosquito when she lived in Brazil in May in 2015. The virus presumably reached the embryo and damaged its developing brain. Hawaii’s state epidemiologist:
We are saddened by the events that have affected this mother and her newborn. This case further emphasizes the importance of the C.D.C. travel recommendations released today.
First US case from Brazil outbreak
The CDC says a traveler in Houston from Latin America, is diagnosed with Zika, the first diagnosis in the United States since an outbreak began in Latin America.
2700 microcephalic babies born in 2015
The New York Times reports that more than 2700 microcephalic babies have been born in Brazil in 2015, up from fewer than 150 in 2014, according to news media reports in Brazil. Though the increase is tentatively blamed on spreading Zika virus, some say the link is not clear.
Link to Zika confirmed, officials downplay
The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation confirms Dr Soare’s research. Officials downplay the disease as having moderate effects, compared to Dengue fever, which kills hundreds people each year. Health Minister:
Zika virus doesn’t worry us. It’s a benign disease.