April 8, 2020
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Health officials confirm Zika causes birth defects

U.S. health officials have determined being
infected with the Zika virus during pregnancy causes birth defects in babies.
Bruce Harrison joins me now in the studio. Bruce, there was already strong evidence the
virus caused developmental problems in babies… how does this announcement change the way
health officials look at the problem? Connyoung, some experts are calling it a game-changer
in terms of refocusing efforts on stopping infections. The director of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention says there’s no doubt now Zika causes microcephaly,…
which is a birth defect marked by a small head size and underdeveloped brain. Earlier this week… the U.S. Congress sent
President Barack Obama a bill,… and he says he’ll sign it… though its insufficient to
fight the virus. The White House called it a “small step,”
and the CDC’s announcement should make it harder now for Congress to deny funding public
health officials say they need to combat Zika’s spread. U.S. health officials warned Monday that the
virus seems to be “scarier” than they thought. And the White House’s main criticism of lawmakers’
bill — it doesn’t contain any direct funding. “…you may be familiar with the expression
of being ‘a day late and a dollar short’ — in this case, Congress is two months late and
$1.9 billion dollars short…” In February, the World Health Organization
declared Zika a global health emergency over its suspected link to thousands of cases of
microcephaly in Brazil. Brazil says it’s confirmed more than one-thousand-100
cases and believes most are related to Zika infections in the mothers.
The CDC now believes microcephaly is just one of a number of serious birth defects caused
by Zika… and researchers want to discover the full range of brain and developmental
issues that infected babies may encounter later in life.

David Frank