May 29, 2018
(CNN) – An increase in birth defects associated with a 2015-2016 epidemic of Zika virus in Brazil caused widespread concern, fear and in some cases hysteria throughout the Americas. Now, research suggests that broadcasts of the epidemic coupled with dire health warnings inspired a very real response from the population.
About 120,000 fewer babies than expected were born from late 2015 through 2016, after the Zika outbreak began in Brazil, according to a study published this week in the scientific journal PNAS. The findings suggest that, due to fears of potential effects of a Zika virus infection during pregnancy, Brazilians postponed pregnancy or possibly had an increased number of abortions, the authors say.