(The effects of Zika virus on infants.)
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have made some grim findings concerning the Zika virus and how it affects infants in the womb. Two medical studies shed light on the effects of the virus.
One study examined children who had been born to mothers with the Zika infection. They found that the disease is directly correlated with microcephaly, birth defect characterized by an abnormally small head in about 80% of cases.
A second study examined the way the virus affects brain tissue. The study looked at 3 infants who had died as a result of the disease as well as fetal tissue in two miscarriages related to Zika. Look at the tissue, researchers were able to see evidence of other body deformities, cell death and abnormal calcium deposits in the brain related to the infection.
(To see the affects of Zika on infants, see the photos above.)
Scientists hope to gain a better understanding of how the virus attacks the brain using these studies.
“I’m afraid the more we learn the nastier the Zika virus is,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “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.”
He went on to say that other birth defects including ones affecting sight and hearing often appear if the virus is contracted in utero.
“Some of the babies will have blindness and hearing defects, some of the babies who appear normal at birth on follow-up can be found tragically later to have limitations of brain function, vision and hearing.” Shaffner said.
To protect your baby, it is encouraged that you
- Use insect repellent (not on babies younger than 2 months old.)
- Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
- Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
To see the affects of Zika on infants, see the photos above.