The scale and severity of prenatal damage from the Zika virus are far worse than past birth defects associated with microcephaly, a condition characterized by a small head and brain abnormalities, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Scans, imaging and autopsies show that Zika eats away at the fetal brain; shrinks or destroys lobes that control thought, vision and other basic functions; and prevents parts of the brain from developing. Liquid often fills the spaces where there’s no brain tissue.
Outbreaks have been reported for the first time in 42 countries and territories since last year, with most in Latin America, according to the World Health Organization.
Health officials say large outbreaks in the United States are unlikely because of widespread use of air conditioning and window screens, as well as disease tracking.