NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — We are just beginning to learn about the mosquito-born disease called Zika. To date, just over 350 cases have been reported in the U.S., just one in Connecticut, and all travel-related.
It is affecting thousands of babies in the America’s, in particular Brazil, and it is spreading rapidly. Puerto Rico is becoming another hot spot.
Yale Professor of Epidemiology, Dr. Albert Ko is on the ground in Brazil studying this disease in babies.
“I think it’s very hard for the World Health Organization, or any of us, to really know what’s going to happen and there are a couple of reasons why. One is that the transmission, the transmission of Zika is very much like the rolling of the dice, we don’t know when and how it’s introduced. We know that in the course of the experience in the United States is that it can be introduced to areas by travel. It also has to be introduced at the right time when there is a high abundance of the mosquito, which transmit the disease, there also has to be the proper climatic conditions,” said Ko.
“This is a baby who was born with microcephany, which is a baby with a small head, or a head smaller than normal and you can see calcifications this is the building up of calcium deposits inside the brain tissue,” said Ko.
“This is looking into the eye of a baby, this is what we call the retina which is the tissue that is important for vision, the tissue is usually red, you can see patches of normal tissue and white scars in large proportions of the retina and so these babies will not only have cognitive and developmental problems but they will also have visual problems, impaired vision as well as impaired hearing,” said Ko.
Ko says in Brazil the danger is year round because it is so warm there. Here we have winters which kill off mosquitoes.