Zika virus likely linked to mental disordersNews added by Benefits Pro on February 24, 2016

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By Jack Craver

Microcephaly, the condition that deforms the head and faces of newborn babies afflicted with the Zika virus, is far from the only threat that the strange illness sweeping across Latin America poses, experts tell the New York Times.

In fact, medical authorities are raising the alarm about the long-term impact of Zika, saying it could result in permanent mental disorders for children.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a big upswing in A.D.H.D., autism, epilepsy, and schizophrenia,” Dr. W. Ian Lipkin told the Times. “We’re looking at a large group of individuals who may not be able to function in the world.”

The potential link between Zika and mental disorders echoes similarly suspected links between a number of ailments during pregnancy, such as the flu and measles, and mental disorders in children.

The most recent indication of the alarm that Zika is causing throughout the region comes from Cuba President Raul Castro, who announced on Monday that he would deploy 9,000 soldiers--to fight mosquitoes.

Cuba has not yet detected a case of Zika, but its medical authorities are treating the arrival of the virus as practically inevitable because of the island nation’s climate.

However, efforts to halt the disease likely have trade-offs, as demonstrated by Cuba’s strategy of fumigating individual houses.

Recently the Centers for Disease Control recommended that pregnant women who travel to a region hit by Zika get tested soon after returning to the U.S.

In addition, it advised pregnant women to use protection during sex with a male partner who has recently traveled to Latin America.

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