Luciana Brondi featured on Sputnik radio programme discussing the current Zika virus outbreak

Luciana Brondi from the Centre for Population Health Studies at the University of Edinburgh was interviewed in Sptunik Radio's Brave New World programme on the current Zika virus outbreak.

The programme entitled "The Truth About the Zika Virus" explored the facts of Zika virus and tried to dispell some of the myths that have arisen in the press.

During the radio progrmame Luciana addressed two major questions: What exactly is this disease? Secondly, what is the connection between the disease and neurological damage to newborn infants.

Luciana told listeners that the virus itself, is related to to the yellow fever, dengue virus, and West Nile viruses and was first discovered in 1947 when it was discovered in the Zika forest in Uganda.

The disease itself is relatively mild in comparison with the symptoms prevalent in patients who come down with dengue or yellow fever, but there is a risk of potential neurological complications.  The big concern in public health has been the implications that in pregnant women, especially those in the first semester of their pregnancy, the virus may cause microcephaly in the developing foetus.  Although there is now some biological eveidence that this indeed the case, Luciana told listeners that this link is yet to be fully established.

Luciana Brondi is a physician and epidemiologist and who has worked for the Brazilian Ministry of Health in the late 1990s, in Bangladesh, Malawi and Mozambique.  She is currently a lecturer and PhD student in the Centre for Population Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.

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