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Since the virus known as Zika surged into international headlines, we’ve heard a lot from researchers, authorities, and politicians about the threat it poses to public health, particularly in Brazil, where the outbreak began.

But what are the people living in the epicenter of the outbreak saying? What do Brazilians think about Zika?

STAT asked them.


Mariana Garnier Santos says her pregnant friend wears a full-body mosquito net while shopping to prevent contracting the Zika virus. Nadia Sussman, Matthew Orr

Contributor Nadia Sussman spent some time talking with women in Rio de Janeiro about the virus. Although anyone can contract Zika, public health officials have urged women who are pregnant, or are considering getting pregnant, to take special precautions to protect themselves from the mosquitos that transmit the virus.

Scientists increasingly believe that Zika infection during pregnancy can pass from the mother to the fetus she carries. In some cases, it is believed the virus can attack the developing brain, causing the child to be born with an abnormally small head, a condition known as microcephaly.


That possibility has created tremendous anxiety among women in Brazil. Here, a pregnant accountant, a physical therapy student, and a tour guide explain how they think about the virus and the threat it poses.

Monica Soares says Brazil's scientists need to gain a better understanding of the Zika virus. Nadia Sussman, Matthew Orr