Earlier this September officials from the World Health Organization announced that Zika is still a global health emergency due to the lack of knowledge many people have regarding the devastating disease.
A group of Zika experts recently held a meeting at the WHO headquarters to further discusses how to combat Zika. The severe birth defect known as microcephaly was perhaps the most discussed issue during the meeting. Experts are now focused on finding possible factors, other than Zika, that could be causing the influx of microcephaly cases around the world.
To a layman who has been keeping up with the news regarding Zika, it would seem obvious that the current epidemic of microcephaly is caused by the Zika virus. However, there are a few problems with blaming Zika for the increase in birth defects. For example, Brazil has reported nearly two thousand cases of microcephaly and other brain abnormalities in newborns, but Colombia, Brazil’s neighbor, has reported 18,000 pregnant women as having Zika since last fall, but fewer than three dozen cases of microcephaly have been reported, indicating that not Zika, but another factor is to blame for the rapid increase in birth defects. On a happier note the WHO reported zero cases of Zika following the Olympic events in Rio de Janiero.
What could possibly be the other factor responsible for the influx of birth defects?