Zika virus and its effects on babies

In the recently published studies, researchers noted a variation in the type of brain damage such as empty spaces and dead spots in the brain, congenital deafness and cataracts.

How are the children affected?

However, differences were recorded in all the three studies on the potential ways the infected children could be affected.

The first study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association analyzed 442 pregnancies from January to September in Hawaii and the United States. All these had been registered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with most of the mothers being returning travelers.

The final report of the study was that 6% of the children given birth to had defects. These defects could not be found in infants whose mothers had been infected in the second or third trimester.

A different contrasting study was conducted on 125 Zika-infected women in Rio de Janeiro. This study, done by Brazilian and American scientists, was published on The New England Journal of Medicine. It found out that the effects were more pronounced, ranging from serious brain damage to fatal deaths.

117 infants were born alive with 40% of them depicting grossly abnormal brain scans or physical symptoms.

The study done in Colombia, Brazil and French Polynesia recorded that the rates of brain damage ranged from 1 to 13 percent. These variations may have been caused by the fact that individual studies used their own measurements when it came to brain damage.

The third study was released by a C.D.C publication – Emerging Infectious Diseases – and made the point that Zika virus was continually replicating in the brain of the infants several days or weeks after their birth.

One uniting factor in all the studies is that they all indicated that a minimal percentage of the babies had full-blown microcephaly. This is shown by a head size smaller than the normal.

Dr. Albert I. Ko, a Yale epidemiologist and familiar face in Brazil said that the results indicated microcephaly is just the beginning of the whole story of basic life support certification.

Brazil hard-hit by Zika

The first cases of Zika virus were recorded in Brazil and the country has since gone on to record more cases.

Considering this, the Rio study was given special attendance with the women being chosen on the basis of having rashes and positive confirmation that they have the virus.

Scientists explained they chose these symptoms because they revealed the women’s infections were more serious and potentially could cause infant damage.

Dr. Deborah Levine, a professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School, made a point that a number of the Rio women had in the past suffered from the dengue virus that could potentially escalate effects of Zika virus. This would then turn out to damage the babies.

Dr. Roberta L. DeBiasi, the chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Children’s National Health System, said that one cannot just make a conclusion that the first and second trimester is the risk period and that the third isn’t.