Zika virus 'scarier than initially thought'
"Everything we look at with this Zika virus seems to be a little scarier than we initially thought," Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC principal deputy director, told reporters during a White House briefing on Monday.
She was joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease at the NIH. "The more and more we learn, the more you get concerned about the scope of what this virus is doing," he said.
Both continued to remind the public that new information about the virus is being learned every day.
They reviewed what's been learned in the two weeks since they last addressed White House reporters on the virus.
The mosquito-borne disease is a cause of microcephaly, according to the World Health Organization, but Schuchat said experts are now linking the virus to premature birth, eye problems and other neurological conditions in babies born to mothers who were infected while pregnant.
These concerns are no longer limited to exposure to the virus only during the first trimester. There is reason to be concerned throughout the pregnancy.
Schuchat also noted revised surveillance maps of the Zika-carrying mosquito, Aedes aegypti, released last month, showing that the insects could be more widespread than previously thought, reaching as far north as San Francisco and New York.
Fauci said researchers are on track with their goal to begin a clinical trial for a vaccine in September. He also said his teams have screened 62 existing drugs as possible treatments. Fifteen have been identified for further research, although he cautioned they may not pan out.