Jonah Triebwasser interviews Cary Institute disease ecologist Shannon LaDeau on the recently recognized dangers from the Zika virus and on the mosquitoes that carry it from human to human. Zika has been known in the Old World since the 1940s but did not reach the Western Hemisphere until 2014, when travelers brought it to Brazil. It has since spread widely through South America, the Caribbean, and some neighborhoods in Florida. Zika is carried from person to person primarily by two species of tropical and subtropical mosquitoes that are daytime biters and to a lesser degree by sexual relations. About 80% of humans infected show mild symptoms or none, but the disease can cause severe damage to an unborn child if the mother is infected. The main concern has been microcephaly, which results in an abnormally small skull and likely brain damage.
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