"Studies of fetuses and babies with the telltale small brains and heads of microcephaly in Zika-affected areas have found abnormalities in the cortex, and Zika virus has been found in the fetal tissue", says Guo-li Ming, M.D., Ph.D.

Zika virus is the leading suspect for what's causing a spike in certain birth defects reported in Brazil.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins said they have found a new biological link between the Zika virus and microcephaly in babies.

Few women have competed in the Olympics while pregnant, but the suspicion that the Zika virus in mothers is causing birth defects is central to calculations by athletes and others planning travel to Brazil in August for the summer games. Federal health officials said they expect the first locally transmitted cases of Zika virus infection in the continental U.S.by June or July.

Professor of clinical pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Nielson further said, "We have found a strong link between Zika and adverse pregnancy outcomes, which haven't been documented before". However, these findings do not show definitive proof about the connection between Zika virus and microcephaly. It attacks the outer layer of a baby's brain, making the cells die rather than divide normally and make new ones. It's based on the observation that the number of cases of microcephaly appear to have increased in Brazil since the virus became epidemic in that country.

There's no evidence that the cells are employing antiviral responses, which means we don't know whether or how the virus is being cleared from the precursor cells, said Ming, a neuroscientist interested in brain disorders like microcephaly.

Image: Jackeline, 26, holds her son who is 4-months old and born with microcephaly, in front of their house in Olinda, near Recife, Brazil, February 11, 2016.

While most people bitten by an infected insect experience only mild illness, pregnant women need to take extra precautions, the CDC has said.

Song's team also reported that the infected cells grew more slowly than healthy cells, and their division cycles were interrupted - factors that could also contribute to microcephaly. But he stressed that his study does not prove that Zika causes microcephaly, nor that it works by that route.

"The best time for laboratory testing for Zika is in the first five days of the onset of symptoms, when PCR tests can detect genetic material [RNA] from the virus", Jairo Mendez, PAHO's regional adviser on viral diseases explained.

For the study, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, the researchers used human stem cells that were engineered to produce cells similar to those that give rise to the brain's cortex in human embryos.

But unlike some of those viruses, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika or medicine to treat the infection.

This year's case comes as the state fights an outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue fever, with 260 cases reported on the Big Island.

California wrestler urges tournament delay after contracting 'mat herpes'
The virus has been known to infect wrestlers throughout the country over the years. According to Rick, Independence High lacked this type of safety practice.