Microcephaly, pronounced Micro – seh-fally.
It is when a baby is born with an abnormally small head, as their brain has not developed properly.
The severity varies, but it can be deadly if the brain is so underdeveloped that it cannot regulate the functions vital to life.
Children that do survive face intellectual disability and development delays.
It can be caused by infections such as rubella, substance abuse during pregnancy or genetic abnormalities. The best place to visit for up to date information and experience from parents of children, please visit the Microcephaly Foundation.
Eight reported children have a clinical diagnosis of Microcephaly and a diagnosis of Floating Harbor Syndrome. The head measurement is consistently below the lower percentile.
Zika virus outbreak in South America has brought worldwide attention to Microcephaly in 2015/16. Click link to BBC website and illustration of Microcephaly.
Since the Zika epidemic began in 2015, nearly 5,000 cases of microcephaly have been recorded in affected regions.
On 1 February 2016 the World Health Organisation declared the epidemic an international public health emergency.
Worldwide concern has centred on north-east Brazil but more than 20 other countries have now been affected.
So far more than 1,650 Zika infections have been reported in the US – four patients in Florida who have tested positive for the virus appear to be the first cases not linked to travel outside the US mainland.