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    Zika virus, Chikungunya, Syphilis infections increase in newborns

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    Emerging and reemerging diseases were highlighted in a talk on infections in the pediatric population given by Sheila Fallon Friedlander, M.D., during the MauiDerm 2016 meeting.

    In her presentation, Dr. Friedlander said dermatologists should be aware of recent increases in cases of Zika virus infection, Chikungunya virus infection, and syphilis in newborns.

    RECOMMENDED: Zika virus and microcephaly

    The concern with Zika virus, which is a flavivirus related to dengue and transmitted by the same Aedes mosquito, relates to the potential association between maternal infection and infants born with microcephaly. Dr. Friedlander noted that accompanying the recent outbreak of Zika virus infections in Brazil there has been a tremendous uptick in the number of newborns with microcephaly — from 147 in 2014 to 2,782 in 2015, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control.

    READ: The Zika Virus: What you need to know

    The information is worrisome considering the consequences of microcephaly, which can range from mild developmental delay to severe motor and intellectual deficits, and the growing number of cases of Zika virus infection in countries outside Brazil, including the United States. “Fortunately, no local cases have yet been identified in the U.S., but it is probably just a matter of time, given that the responsible mosquito species does inhabit the U.S.,” said Dr. Friedlander. She is professor of clinical dermatology and pediatrics, Rady Children's Hospital and UCSD School of Medicine, San Diego, Calif.

    NEXT: Importing viruses

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