Zika virus has been rapidly spreading and new cases have been reported in Southeast Asia and Florida. The knowledge of the virus is widely known and most people are already aware that the most damaging effect of the virus is on development of the foetus during pregnancy.
However, it is not true that all babies exposed to the virus during pregnancy getting affected by Zika. It is currently the belief of most scientists that only 10 percent to 20 percent of the babies do get affected.
However, when they unfortunately get affected, they exhibit varying symptoms. Researchers under the leadership of Dr. Amicar Tanuri published a report in JAMA Neurology in which they said microcephaly is just but one of the many effects of the Zika virus. This research was published at Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Brazil is one of the countries which have recorded the highest number babies born affected with Zika virus within the past one year.
Zika Virus understanding
Health officials say that this new discovery that Zika virus does not just cause microcephaly is an interesting twist to what has always been known.
Of the 11 babies that were studied, whom presence of Zika virus was discovered in the amniotic fluid, three died before 48 hours in to the delivery. Nine of these babies had microcephaly while the other two had an enlarged head circumference. However, all the babies had signs of neurological abnormalities such as underdevelopment of the brain stem, restricted growth and calcium lesions in some brain parts.
What is Microcephaly and severe Microcephaly?
Microcephaly is a situation in which the head of the baby becomes smaller than normal. During pregnancy, the head of the baby will always grow because the brain also growing. However, because the brain of the baby is not developing, microcephaly happens. Basically, the growth stops after birth and the head ends up becoming smaller than the expected size. It is possible for microcephaly to appear as an isolated condition. This implies that it happens without triggering any other major birth defect or can also occur with other major birth defects.
On the other hand, severe microcephaly is more serious and extreme form in which the head of the baby gets even far much smaller than expected.
Some other health effects that microcephaly is associated with include: vision problems, hearing loss, feeding problems, seizures as well intellectual disability.
This study may have just taken into account small cases but gives a deeper insight into the brain development. The results point out the fact that pregnant women must be careful to avoid areas that have been labeled dangerous for them.
As explained by BLS healthcare provider treatment for Zika virus is yet to be developed but researchers are working on it.