20 Jan 2016

Tahiti study checks zika links with malformed babies

9:57 am on 20 January 2016

An investigation in French Polynesia into whether a recently increased number of malformed babies can be linked to the zika virus, is being done by the territory's Ministry of Health.

It follows reports of an increased rate of microcephaly in newborn babies observed in Brazil last year, where a zika outbreak was declared.

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Photo: 123 RF

Dr Henri Pierre Mallet, the Ministry's Head of Surveillance, says there has been a higher than usual number of foetal cerebral malformations reported in the territory since the 2013-2014 outbreak.

The cases are linked to women who may have contracted the virus during pregancy.

"We think around 18 pregancies have been confirmed. We still are not sure that all women had been infected during their pregancy but the main hypothesis is the Zika virus. But we are dealing with the investigation and we are thinking about more epidemiologic studies to confirm that."