Zika Babies Turning 1 Require Feeding Tubes Due To Swallowing Difficulties; Arm & Leg Deformities Seen, Too

By Olivia Reese, Parent Herald October 13, 05:29 am
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Zika babies have epileptic seizures, vision and hearing problems, and swallowing difficulties that require them to use feeding tubes. Some infants also have arm and leg deformities.
(Photo : Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Zika babies turning a year old are displaying various problems aside from microcephaly, the most common indicator of the virus. As these babies grow up, they require the use of feeding tubes due to swallowing difficulties that makes eating highly uncomfortable.

A year after Brazil was hit by the Zika virus outbreak, doctors and researchers are seeing many of the babies display swallowing difficulties, epileptic seizures, and vision and hearing problems, Fox News reports. Dr. Vanessa Van der Linden, a pediatric neurologist in Recife, Brazil who was the first to suspect of Zika's connection to microcephaly, said that seven percent of the babies with the congenital condition also have arm and leg deformities.

Some Zika-affected infants don't have microcephaly when they were born, but one patient of Van der Linden's now has issues moving his left hand. Other babies were born with normal-sized heads but have brain damage and other physical problems associated with the Zika virus.

Bernardo Oliveira, another baby affected with Zika, was born with a normal-sized head at 13 inches. His mother believed that Zika spared her son but that wasn't the case.

Bernardo cried nonstop and when nothing changed by the third month, doctors found that the child's head stopped growing. Bernardo was affected by Zika after all and his microcephaly just appeared late. Other babies' cases are also similar to Bernardo's.

Arthur Conceicao, another Zika baby who just turned 1, experiences seizures every day despite his epilepsy medication. The child choked during meals so he had to consume high-calorie formula that was given to him via a tube.

Jose Wesley Campos also have to feed through a nose tube due to swallowing difficulties, a predicament that made him dangerously underweight. The baby weighs less than 13 pounds, which is far lower than the 22-pound average weight for other children his age.

Jose must wear small blue-rimmed glasses for his crossed eyes, which makes his sight slow to follow objects' movements. The baby's head is also unsteady when he attempts to hold it up.

Other babies affected with Zika display reflexes that they can't control, Parent Herald previously covered. Some have bodies that become stiff or hypertonic, with crying periods that can last for 24 hours. Zika virus also affects these babies' language, memory, social skills and problem solving skills.

Zika virus is transmitted by infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. It can also be contracted through sexual intercourse.

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