The Zika Virus Moves North

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The spreading Zika virus and a travel warning for pregnant women and women who want to become pregnant. It’s coming north. PLUS: Details on Vice President Biden's "moon-shot" cancer cure effort.

In this Dec. 23, 2015 photo, 10-year-old Elison, left, watches as his mother Solange Ferreira bathes Jose Wesley in a bucket at their house in Poco Fundo, Pernambuco state, Brazil. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this Dec. 23, 2015 photo, 10-year-old Elison, left, watches as his mother Solange Ferreira bathes Jose Wesley in a bucket at their house in Poco Fundo, Pernambuco state, Brazil. Jose is one of many infants who are displaying signs of microcephaly after their mothers contracted the Zika virus in Brazil and other South American countries. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

More Zika virus news in the US yesterday. Three women recently back from South America found infected in Miami, Tampa. Another in Hawaii, back from Brazil. Her baby born with the birth defect. The small head. The CDC is advising pregnant women not to travel to areas of Zika transmission. But that area may soon stretch into the US. It’s mosquito-born. It is spreading fast. This hour On Point, all about the Zika virus. Plus, Joe Biden’s “moonshot” push to find a cure for cancer.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, South American correspondent for NPR News. (@lourdesgnavarro)

Heidi Brown, professor of epidemiology at the University of Arizona and vector-borne disease epidemiologist.

Scott Weaver, director of the Institute for Human Infections and Immunity at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he also a professor of pathology and immunology.

From Tom’s Reading List

NPR News: Why Brazil Doesn't Want Women In The Northeast To Become Pregnant -- "Brazil's Ministry of Health made an unprecedented announcement this month: It told women in the northeast of the country not to get pregnant for the foreseeable future. And it's all because of a mosquito — the Aedes aegypti species, which can spread a variety of diseases, including Zika virus. Health experts in Brazil are concerned that the virus, whose symptoms are typically a low-grade fever and bright red rash, might be having a devastating impact on newborns."

The Wall Street Journal: Texas Woman Diagnosed With Mosquito-Borne Zika Virus — "A Houston-area woman who traveled in November to El Salvador has been diagnosed with the Zika virus, public health officials said, raising concern that the mosquito-borne illness linked to a health crisis in Brazil could spread through the Americas."

Miami Herald: New mosquito-borne virus Zika spreading in Caribbean — "The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning pregnant woman and others to be aware when traveling to countries where a new mosquito-borne illness — possibly linked to babies born with small, undeveloped brains in Brazil — has appeared. The travel alert came the same day that Haitian health officials confirmed that the Zika virus was present in the country."

Where Zika Virus Has Been Detected

A map of Zika Virus cases as reported by the Center for Disease Control. (Via CDC)

Biden’s Cancer Cure ‘Moonshot’

Dr. Carl June, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Perleman School of Medicine. Director of translational research at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Paula Hammond, member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and head of the MIT Department of Chemical Engineering.

Stat News: Joe Biden urges ‘more tax dollars, a lot more cooperation’ for cancer moonshot -- "Vice President Joe Biden asked leading cancer researchers Tuesday to help him get up to speed on what it would take to make major progress so he can make the public case for an expensive effort against the disease. In Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum Tuesday attended by top federal officials and scientists, Biden emphasized that he saw his job as educating the public about what needs to be done."

This program aired on January 20, 2016.


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