BrasÃlia (AFP) – The Brazilian health ministry confirmed that there was a link between cases of microcephaly, a head deformity, in babies & the Zika virus, transmitted by mosquitoes that spread dengue.
The outbreak of microcephaly in northeastern Brazil "is a unique situation in global scientific research," the agency said in a statement.
Health authorities established the link after identifying the presence of the virus in a deceased baby who had been born with microcephaly & other genetic diseases.
p>The congenital disease results in the formation of a smaller skull & impairs normal intellectual development.
A total of 739 suspected cases have already been identified throughout Brazil so far this year, compared to 147 diagnosed cases in 2014, according to official figures.
The government moreover reported the deaths of an adult & a teenager in what would mark the first non-infant, Zika-linked deaths in the world.
The virus, described as a mild version of dengue, has been detected in 18 of Brazil's 26 states this year.
HealthPublic Healthnortheastern BrazilZika virusmicrocephaly