Cohen hosts round table discussion about Zika virus

Cohen hosts round table discussion about Zika virus

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Local, state, and federal leaders are coming together to fight an epidemic.

Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen is hosting a round table discussion about the rapidly-spreading Zika virus as part of his "Building a Healthier Memphis" initiative.

Those present at the meeting will discuss how to protect babies and expectant mothers. A case of Zika virus was recently reported in East Tennessee.

The Zika virus is transmitted between people by mosquitoes. Though the symptoms in healthy adults are not usually very severe, some data suggests the virus can be passed from pregnant mothers to their fetuses.

In countries like Brazil, where Zika virus is prevalent, a large number of babies have recently been born with a condition called microcephaly. That means the baby's head is smaller than normal, and its brain does not fully develop.

Though the relationship between Zika virus and microcephaly is not fully understood, the Centers for Disease Control recommends pregnant women avoid traveling to countries where Zika is spreading.

Zika has already spread to more than 20 countries in Central and South America, but a vaccine isn't expected for another 18 months.

Experts at the meeting will also discuss how to improve children's health in Tennessee by 2020.

For more about Zika virus, click here.

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