Zika Linked to More Birth Defects

A new study published in The BMJ shows that Zika virus during pregnancy may increase the risk for arm and leg deformities in newborns. This condition is called arthrogryposis. While Zika infection is mild for most people, this finding adds to the concern for women who are pregnant and contract the virus.

More research is needed to confirm an association between Zika and deformed limbs, but according to the authors of this recent study, the link may be related to the effect of the virus on developing motor neurons in the brain.

Researchers performed brain imaging and high-definition joint imaging on seven infants with arthrogryposis in Brazil who were thought to have contracted Zika before birth during the recent outbreak of the virus. Brain scans revealed lesions thought to be related to Zika. However, joint imaging did not reveal any abnormalities, leading researchers to believe the deformities were neurological, rather than joint related.

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