Daily Star 12th Feb 2016


UK's answer to Zika: Most Brits ALREADY infected with separate head-shrinking virus

A SEXUALLY transmitted head shrinking virus like Zika has already spread “everywhere” and a majority of adults in the UK are clueless that they have it.

By Margi Murphy / Published 11th February 2016

GETTYNDEMIC: A virus as dangerous as Zika is already spreading throughout the UK

Zika has already taken the lives of three adults and has been declared a “public health emergency” by the World Health Organisation after it began rapidly spreading across the world.

The virus is terrifying pregnant woman as it is linked to microcephaly in unborn children.

Tots with the condition are likely to die young or suffer severe brain damage. And mums in Brazil — where the virus originated — have been told to put off having children for two years to avoid passing it on.    

 The pandemic virus has travelled from South America to the UK within a few months — with the latest confirmed case reported last week sparking fears it could become a greater threat to human life than the ebola outbreak last year. But scientists have revealed that a separate and equally harmful virus called Cytomegalovirus — or CMV — is already among us and 80% of adults will be affected by it before the age of 40, according to the NHS. Similar to Zika, CMV causes babies to be born with shrunken heads, hearing loss, blindness and seizures.

In adults it can cause pneumonia and even lead to hepatitis if the virus spreads to the organs.

The virus is transmitted through sex, kissing, breast milk or receiving an infected organ during a transplant.

“CMV causes more birth defects and deaths than Down’s syndrome, Toxoplasmosis, Spina Bifida or Rubella”

As it rarely causes symptoms most of the population have no idea they are passing it on.

Charity CMV Action advises: “Congenital CMV causes more birth defects and deaths than Down’s syndrome, Toxoplasmosis, Spina Bifida or Rubella.

"CMV is spread through bodily fluids and the chance of getting a CMV infection from casual contact is very small.

"However, a lot of small children catch CMV so women who work with children, or who have a family already, need to be especially careful during pregnancy."

It advises hand washing, avoiding sharing cutlery or drinks with children and avoiding kissing tots under the age of six on the mouth or cheek.

Public Health England said it was investigating four cases of Zika that were reported in the UK in the past six weeks.

The Zika virus: Epidemic fears

Doctors in Venezuela have called on the government to publish statistics about the Zika virus, warning that the South American country could already be facing an epidemic. It is also reported that the mosquitos spreading this virus could already be in the UK.

Daniele Santos holds her son Juan Pedro who is 2-months old and born with microcephaly after bathing him at their house in Recife, Brazil. 


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