CDC warns about new effects related to Zika

Posted at 11:38 PM, Apr 11, 2016

The CDC is releasing new information about life-changing side effects caused by the Zika virus. The Center has just secured emergency funding for Zika cases in Puerto Rico.

The island is seeing an uptick in locally transmitted cases and is expected to increase into the hundreds of thousands.

SPECIAL SECTION: More Zika coverage

"It's something that's scary. If I got pregnant, I am not going to be able to visit Puerto Rico," says Emma Velez. She just returned from visiting her family on the island two weeks ago. She and her husband are trying for baby number two. She says there is huge concern over Zika in Puerto Rico.

"My dad, every morning and every night fumigating the house all around," said Velez about her father taking precautions on the island.

Associate Professor Dr. Hyeryun Choe with The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter says it's alarming that a virus can case microcephaly, also known as the small head syndrome.

Now researchers know Zika can also case premature birth and blindness in unborn babies.

"Brain, eyes, testes these are all immune protected areas so  the virus has to cross them and somehow this virus has adapted to do that job very well," said Dr. Choe.

The virus is also being linked to an auto immune disorder similar to multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Choe says the research needs to catch up with the number of cases popping up in the U.S., especially since there is another mosquito in the country that can also spread the virus.

"If it continues next year, the year after it could become a big problem," added Dr. Choe.

All Zika cases in Florida have been travel-related.