An evidence linking the Zika virus with brain condition microcephaly has been found, scientists in Brazil said on Monday. They found the mosquito-transmitted virus in the brains of two babies born to Zika-infected mothers.
A team of researchers at the PUC-Parana University found that the virus was actively present in the brain tissues of the two babies, who died 48 hours after their birth, BBC reported.
Microcephaly is a birth defect that results in abnormal brain development of babies, who are born with small heads. As the neurological condition has been detected in babies born to mothers who were infected with Zika virus during pregnancy, scientists suspect there's a link between the two.
"We have detected its presence in the brain tissue... The Zika virus caused brain damage and that reinforces evidence of a relationship between Zika and microcephaly," pathologist from the Brazilian Society of Pathology Lucia Noronha told AFP.
It was Noronha's team at PUC-Parana University that found presence of the Zika virus in pregnant women's amniotic fluid.
"We received samples of brain tissue from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation. They're the same samples that were sent to the United States, where researchers at the Centers for Disease Control came to the same conclusion: that there is Zika in the fetus' brain," she said.
As many as 1.5 million people people have been infected with the virus. At least 462 microcephaly cases have been reported since October last year, the Brazilian Health Ministry said. There are as many as 3,852 suspected cases.