Zika virus outbreak

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Motherhood in the time of Zika
Katie Falkenberg's photo feature on mothers caring for children damaged by the Zika virus in Brazil was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2017.
Tulip Mazumdar looks ahead to the top health stories of 2017
The BBC's Tulip Mazumdar takes a look ahead to what will be some of the key health-related stories in 2017.

El Niño blamed for Zika virus outbreak

A combination of drought and heavy rains is believed to have helped spread the disease
El Niño is a warming of the Pacific Ocean which has a major impact on weather around the world. The phenomenon tends to increase global temperature by releasing heat from the ocean to the atmosphere. The El Niño that occurred between 2015 and 2016 was one of the strongest on record. But a new study says that the last El Niño may have contributed to the spread of the Zika virus across South America, North America, Europe and Asia. Zika is a mosquito-borne disease suspected of causing microcephaly, a condition which results in abnormally small heads in babies. Professor Matthew Baylis of the University of Liverpool is one of the lead researchers from the study.

(Photo: A mother feeds a baby with microcephaly in Brazil. Credit: Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images)