CDC Confirms Zika Causes Severe Birth Defects
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday the time has come to drop the squishy language previously used to describe the Zika virus. It isn’t just suspected of causing birth defects; it does cause birth defects.
Senior scientists involved in the agency’s Zika response argue in an article rushed to print by the New England Journal of Medicine that the virus has met a test used to determine whether an exposure — to a disease agent like a virus or a chemical, for instance — causes birth defects in a developing fetus.
The test is called the Shepard criteria, and it lays out seven factors that can be used to determine if an exposure causes birth defects. Zika currently meets four of the seven — and only three are needed to prove causality, the scientists said.
Scientists at the CDC and the World Health Organization have been clear for weeks that they believed infection during pregnancy was leading in some instances to babies with severe microcephaly — smaller than normal heads — and signs of profound brain damage.
But officially, they have avoided saying Zika infection “causes” brain-related birth defects, because in scientific terms there simply wasn’t enough evidence yet to say that definitively… Read More>>