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Public Health Reports: Geography of Microcephaly in the Zika Era: A Study of Newborn Distribution and Socio-environmental Indicators in Recife, Brazil, 2015-2016

In a recent article in Public Health Reports, academic researchers from Brazil evaluated sociodemographic and health care factors of both mothers and newborns during a 2015-2016 microcephaly outbreak in Recife, Brazil. Spatial distribution and incidence risk for newborns with microcephaly were analyzed in relation to socio-environmental indicators. Data was collected from August 2015 to May 2016 from Brazil’s Live Birth Information System and Bulletin of Microcephaly Notification. After geocoding 92 percent of live births in Recife, 1.1 percent of newborns were found to have microcephaly. Additionally, more newborns with microcephaly were born in a public hospital, and had mothers who did not attend college, were 19-years-old or less, or were of Black or mixed race. The majority of newborns with microcephaly lived in poorer areas and in a high-risk cluster in the north. The authors concluded that the unequal incidence of microcephaly in newborns inhabiting poor areas of Recife indicates a need to create policies promoting social equity and support for families with children suffering from microcephaly.

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Public Health Reports is the official journal of the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service and has been published since 1878. It is published bimonthly, plus supplement issues, through an official agreement with the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.

Visit Public Health Reports for more information about the journal.