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Zika virus found in aborted infant’s brain

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Zika virus has been found in the brain tissue of babies with microcephaly or the first time as scientists edge closer to establishing a link between the disease and the birth defect.

Doctors in Slovenia found the whole genome of the mosquito-borne virus amid the post-mortem of a prematurely ended 32-week foetus, which had suspected microcephaly.

The 25-year-old mother, who requested a termination after a prognosis of severe brain disease in her baby, had lived and volunteered in Natal, northeast Brazil, before becoming pregnant. “This case shows severe fetal brain injury associated with ZIKV infection with vertical transmission,” said the report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

It said there was no trace of Zika in any other organs, suggesting the virus had a tendency to infect and attack nerve cells.

Meanwhile, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have found evidence of Zika in brain and placenta tissues in four babies in Brazil. Samples were tested from two babies who died at less than a day old, and two miscarried foetuses. Similarly, the virus was also only found in brain tissue.

There are warnings that instances of Zika-related microcephaly were more severe than previously seen cases of impaired brain and skull growth. Among the complications that have been noticed by doctors are problems with vision and blindness.

The University of Sao Paulo said it was monitoring 3,000 pregnant women as part of research into a link between Zika and microcephaly.

Brazil’s health ministry confirmed its third Zika-related death while China reported its first case of Zika yesterday.

The Telegraph

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Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih wins presidency

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MALE — Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has beaten incumbent Abdulla Yameen according to provisional results, the country’s Elections Commission says.

Results released by the Elections Commission showed Mr Solih securing 133,808 votes (58.3 percent) compared to the 95,526 for incumbent Abdulla Yameen. The voter turnout was over 88 per cent out of the 262,000-strong electorate.

The Maldives government has acknowledged the opposition’s victory after the vote on Sunday, a surprise defeat for President Abdulla Yameen who was widely expected to win.

There were no other candidates.

Mr Solih had the backing of a united opposition trying to oust Mr Yameen, but struggled for visibility with the electorate, with local media fearful of falling afoul of heavy-handed decrees and reporting restrictions.

“I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power,” Solih said on television, shortly after interim results from the country’s election commission.

“We have won this election with a comfortable majority,” Solih said.

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