Mariam Araujo, 25, plays with Lucas, her 4-months old second child and born with microcephaly as they wait for a physiotherapy session in Pedro I hospital in Campina Grande, Brazil, February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes
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Often drowned out by the dire warnings and fear surrounding Zika, some medical professionals are saying that Brazil and international health officials have prematurely declared a link between the virus and what appears to be a surge in birth defects.Why are the vast majority of the cases of microcephaly being reported in Brazil?And how can conclusions be drawn from government statistics that are flawed and possibly vastly underreported in the past, before Brazilian officials required doctors to report microcephaly cases?Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Castro recently said he was "absolutely sure" of a causal link between Zika and microcephaly.Several CDC teams hope to recruit more than 100 mothers with babies with microcephaly, and two to three times that number of mothers with healthy infants born around the same time and in the same area.There are also many questions surrounding Brazil's baseline of microcephaly cases.Since October, the Health Ministry says 5,640 cases of microcephaly have been reported. Of the 583 confirmed cases of microcephaly, only 67 have been connected to Zika by blood tests.On Jan. 30, the Health Ministry reported 101 cases of microcephaly, a huge jump from the total of 18 for the two previous months combined.
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