Zika Virus

Texas Biomedical Research Institute

Scientists at Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio are using a type of primate to help prevent birth defects caused by the Zika virus.

Two years ago, when the Zika virus was first identified as the cause of microcephaly in babies, women were scared. Expectant mothers who got infected had no idea what the chances were of having a healthy baby.

Researchers have since learned that while Zika infection is dangerous, about 94 percent of babies born to women infected with Zika appear to be normal at birth.

After the Zika virus turned up in Brazil two years ago, hundreds of babies were born with severe brain damage and underdeveloped skulls — a birth defect known as microcephaly.

The reports of microcephaly terrified pregnant women and prompted Brazil to declare a national health emergency.

But researchers in the central Brazilian state of Sao Paulo now say that Zika may be more likely to produce a miscarriage than a baby with a smaller than normal head.

Wendy Rigby / Texas Public Radio

***Updated at 4:00 p.m.

The first documented locally-acquired case of Zika in the continental U.S this year has been detected in Hidalgo County, at the southern tip of Texas. There's no indication this is the start of a large scale outbreak.

Think Health Science: Summertime Health Hazards

Jun 15, 2017
Nathan Cone / TPR

With summer comes plans for lazy days, vacations at home or abroad, and spending time in the great outdoors. But summer livin’ is also fraught with unique health hazards ranging from mosquito-borne illnesses to sun exposure to contaminated food to all manner of physical injuries due to increased outdoor activities. A single sunburn can increase the risks of developing skin cancer, and five or more sunburns in your life can double the risk of melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer.