The existing data suggests that the incidence of microcephaly in the Gulf Coast states is elevated above the national incidence. Any future correlation between the arrival of Zika and cases of microcephaly in that region should take into account the existing high levels.
Brazil’s Ministry of Health released its latest data on the “outbreak” of microcephaly in that nation. From October through March 19, 2016, the Ministry has received 6,671 reports of children born with microcephaly. Nearly 36 percent of those cases have been investigated.
As the sixth week of 2016 draws to a close, the medical community is still uncertain about the effects of Zika viral illnesses, and any relationship to microcephaly in unborn children and Guillain-Barré syndrome in people of all ages. It is unclear at this time just how many people have had the mosquito borne illness.
The onslaught of Zika stories in the media continues while the science lags. Searching “Zika” on Google News produces 86,500,000 results. Despite the coverage, there are still no firm estimates of the number of Zika viral illnesses as well as other key indices. Brazil continues to report an outbreak of microcephaly but the normal incidence of that birth defect has not yet been established.