New Findings On The Zika Virus, What You Should Know
"I'm afraid the more we learn the nastier the Zika virus is"
1. Zika Virus Finding Still Leaves Questions
The Short of It:
New findings on Zika reveal that infants born without microcephaly are not in the clear when it comes to developmental defects.
The Longer Version of It:
Yesterday, medical journal The Lancet published findings that babies infected with the Zika virus but not born with microcephaly still run the risk of experiencing developmental delays.
One study observed 1,500 children whose mothers were infected with the virus and found only one in five were born with normal head sizes. Another study looked into three infants who had died from Zika-related microcephaly in addition to two separate fetal tissues from two pregnancies that had ended in miscarriages. The findings revealed that the virus upsets brain tissue by generating physical deformities, cell death, and atypical calcium deposits.
Infectious disease expert, Dr. William Schaffer is from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and revealed the ways in which other birth defects from the virus can present themselves if the virus touches brain development in utero. "I'm afraid the more we learn the nastier the Zika virus is," Schaffer said. "It’s quite evident that the Zika virus, if it gets into a pregnant woman, can get into the placenta and into the baby and it gets right into the brain cells."
Over 2,600 cases of Zika have popped up in the United States and its territories and just this year, four babies in the country have been born with Zika-related birth defects. With mosquito season upon us, that number is estimated to make a significant increase in the next few months. As the severity of the virus reveals itself, many have their eyes on Rio, Brazil where the virus first broke out and where millions of people will be flocking to for the Olympics.
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