New study links Zika virus to autism, ADHD and schizophrenia in children

By Alex Sinkfield, Associated Press article WHO says it has identified a link between Zika virus and autism in children, ADHD in adults and schizophrenia.

The World Health Organization said Thursday that a new study that looked at the brain structure of more than 1,300 children, adolescents and adults found evidence that people with Zika infections are more likely to have autism and ADHD than those without infections.

In a statement, the WHO said the study showed that people infected with Zika virus had abnormal brain structures, including larger grey matter, smaller grey matter and more white matter than healthy people.

It’s unclear how Zika virus affects the brains of people.

The virus can be transmitted by mosquitoes, and many cases of people contracting the virus while traveling overseas are thought to be due to contaminated water or healthcare workers who may have been exposed to it in the countries they were treating.WHO says there is no known link between the virus and other mental health problems, but it said the findings were “not unexpected.”

The organization also said there is a need for additional studies to confirm the link between infections and mental health.___AP science writer Roberta Rampton contributed to this report.