The Zika virus, spread by tropical mosquitoes, makes victims among men, women, and children. A recent study shows that the virus affects expectant mothers and their babies. Researchers observed that there is a higher birth defect risk caused by the infected mosquitoes.
The disease started to spread in Brazil. It is in Brazil where the researchers found an increased rate of birth malformations with children. According to one of the latest studies on the subject, the number of babies born with malformations has doubled. The cause of the phenomenon is the mosquitoes infected with the Zika virus biting the pregnant women.
One of the common malformations that children are born with because of the virus is microcephaly. It is a condition of the nervous system. It prevents the normal development of the brain, and the newborns have a smaller head than normal babies. The child will be affected throughout his or her entire life, as the disease is associated with mental retardation.
Another condition which seems to be triggered by the Zika virus is Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), and it affects babies. It also has to do with the nervous system, and it is associated with muscle weakness. The official statistics show that the number of cases has recently tripled in Brazil.
The Zika virus doesn’t only have damaging effects on the newborns, but can also lead to miscarriages.
Researchers were able to determine that Brazil is actually facing a higher birth defect due to Zika because they compared the current situation to that of previous years. For instance, two years ago only forty out of one hundred thousand babies were born with malformations. Unfortunately, this years’ statistics show a worsened situation, as one hundred seventy babies have this type of birth defects.
The period with the higher rates of birth defects coincides with the period of the spreading of the Zika virus. It also led to the increased number of hospitalizations.
The researchers take into consideration the possibility that the Zika virus was not the only one that caused so many health problems to newborn babies. There might be other viruses as well, which might have fused with this one, but Zika remains the primary factor.
Zika virus infections were also reported in the United States. Both mosquitoes and travelers from foreign countries helped the virus spread in the U.S. Pharmaceutical companies are trying to develop a proper vaccine as soon as possible.
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