Zika Virus | Texas Public Radio

Zika Virus

"These babies do not catch up as they grow," says Dr. Antonio Augusto Moura da Silva of the Federal University of Maranhao, Sao Luis, Brazil.

Texas Biomedical Research Institute

San Antonio scientists are part of a push to develop laboratory animal models to study the Zika virus. Baboons and monkeys may be key to unlocking new treatments and vaccines.

The World Health Organization is revising its advice to people who may have been exposed to the Zika virus and who are interested in getting pregnant.

The WHO now says couples who have visited an area where there’s Zika should wait at least six months before trying to conceive, whether or nor either person had symptoms. Previously, the organization had advised women who may have been exposed to Zika wait 8 weeks, and men who may have been exposed to wait six months.

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As communities across the country prepare for possible outbreaks of the Zika virus, the City of San Antonio’s senior staff is proposing another cut in funding for mosquito control. 

Summer is winding down, but when members of Congress return to Washington from their vacations next week, many of their constituents want them to do something about the mosquitoes — the ones carrying Zika virus, to be specific.

A new survey shows that three quarters of Americans say Congress should make the allocation of more money to deal with the Zika outbreaks in Florida and Puerto Rico an "important" or "top priority" when they return to Washington.

At the Mirebalais Hospital in Haiti's central plateau, Dr. Louise Ivers and Dr. Roman Jean-Louis are examining a baby girl who was born in early July with microcephaly, a smaller-than-normal skull often associated with Zika infections.

The baby, named Chinashama, is dressed in a white smock adorned with small flowers. Her legs cross unnaturally over her shins, and her mother, Chrisnette Sainvilus, says the baby cries a lot and has trouble passing stool. "Day and night she's crying," the mother of two says. It's unclear what physical and mental problems Chinashama is facing.

Wendy Rigby / Texas Public Radio

A San Antonio lab is conducting important research into the Zika virus. The information scientists gather here could help in development of a vaccine for the disease, which threatens to rear its head in South Texas in the next couple of years.

The World Health Organization calls Zika a global public health emergency. While mosquitoes may not be spreading the virus in Texas yet, the routine bite of the flying pest is spreading fear.

Wendy Rigby / Texas Public Radio

For South Texas blood donors, consenting to have your blood screened for Zika will no longer be voluntary. It will be mandatory.

 

 Today the Food and Drug Administration mandated the entire donated blood supply be screened for the emerging mosquito-borne virus.

 

The lifeblood of the South Texas medical community is donated blood. There’s no substitute for human blood, but it has to be screened to keep patients who receive that blood safe.

The Food and Drug Administration is recommending that blood banks screen all blood donations in the U.S. for the Zika virus.

It's a major expansion from a Feb. 16 advisory that limited such screening to areas with active Zika virus transmission.

In a statement released Friday, the FDA says all those areas are currently in compliance with blood screening, but that expanded testing is now needed.

Shelley Kofler / Texas Public Radio

Health experts agree controlling the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which can carry Zika is essential to preventing an outbreak of the virus.  So, does the City of San Antonio have the resources to do that?  In the process of reporting for our series, “Preparing for Zika in Texas,”  Texas Public Radio discovered San Antonio has drastically cut funding for the public health department’s mosquito control division. 

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