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AVAILABLE EXPERT - Fears continue to rise over Zika virus spread

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Queen’s University infectious diseases expert Dick Zoutman is available to comment on the Zika virus. Public health officials in Latin American and Caribbean countries are warning their citizens against pregnancy amid rising fears over the virus. There is a suggested link between the virus and microcephaly, a birth defect where babies are born with smaller-than-normal heads and incomplete brain development.

“Zika virus is potentially a significant concern for pregnant, or going to become pregnant, women. Over a dozen countries in South America, Central America, Latin America and the Caribbean have seen increased rates of infection with the Zika virus,” says Dr. Zoutman. “In Brazil in particular there is serious concern that infections in pregnant women can have serious adverse consequences for their unborn child. So much so that there is now advice from government authorities to avoid travel to these areas if you are or could be pregnant. Avoiding mosquito bites is very important as prevention.”

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) or Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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