Zika virus: Risks in pregnancy are not just microcephaly

It is suspected that Zika also leads to fetal abnormalities.

 Researchers have just reported that the mosquito-borne virus might bring about a larger variety of outcomes on developing babies, not just happen at period of pregnancy.

Zika virus

These findings are the results of the 1st study which tracks women in pregnant time in Brazil since they got infected but there is still no evidence to prove their findings are true. However, by targeting embryonic brain cells, they have strengthened their claim that Zika virus is associated with birth defects in babies called microcephaly, which causes tiny heads and brain damage.

According to Dr. Karin Nielsen of the University of California, Los Angeles, who carried out the pregnancy study with colleagues at the Fiocruz Institute in Brazil, Zika does not just result in microcephaly. It can even lead to more serious diseases.

Normally, Zika virus, which is widely spreading among Latin Americas and the Caribbean, is only a mild illness with symptoms like fever, rash or red eyes. However, when Brazil health officials suspected that mosquito-borne virus caused microcephaly in babies, resulting in brain abnormalities, there raised concerns about the danger of infection. Due to Zika, there might be miscarriage and also fetal abnormalities after abortion.

Researchers in Brazil are said to take deeper look into pregnancy. It has tracked 88 women at pregnant time, who have the symptoms of Zika infection. 72 of them were tested positive for Zika. 42 of the infected and all the non-infected agreed to take fetal ultrasound exams. The test found 12 cases of fetal abnormalities, which means 29% of the test-takers have fetal problems. All of the 12 are infected women, while no case was confirmed in non-infected ones.

According to Nielsen, 6 live births have occur so far. One of them is with serious microcephaly. Two were born too little for gestational age, one of whom had the signal of vision problems. Two others are healthy, with normal ultrasounds. The last baby who was given birth by emergency C-section had some struggle initially, but is healthy now.

Researchers have linked these problems to each trimester of pregnancy, not just the first trimester that was believed to be the most risky.

Dr. Christopher M. Zahn of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said that there were still many questions that was not answered. However, some evidences have been found to prove the link between Zika and some negative obstetrical outcomes like microcephaly and fetal abnormalities.

Based on the current situation of Zika outbreak, Canada’s Health Agency have urged women to wait at least 2 months after returning from Zika-affected areas before getting pregnant.

 

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