A single genetic glitch may explain how Zika became so dangerous

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A single genetic change that occurred in 2013 may explain how Zika acquired the ability to attack fetal nerve cells, causing a severe birth defect in babies whose mothers were infected while pregnant, Chinese and U.S. researchers have said.

Scientists have posited many theories about why Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that had been linked with only mild symptoms since its discovery in 1947, could suddenly be associated with thousands of cases of the birth defect known as microcephaly, as it was in Brazil in 2015.

That outbreak prompted the World Health Organization to declare Zika a public health emergency in 2016, and set off a scientific quest to determine whether Zika could cause microcephaly, a condition marked by small head size.

9e3a771cc12dd957c749888f3b59cd53 A single genetic glitch may explain how Zika became so dangerous

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