Zika Virus Doesn’t Give Microcephaly To Babies In The Third Trimester Of Pregnancy

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald June 17, 07:48 am

Pregnant mothers who contracted Zika virus while in the third trimester of their pregnancies will not have babies with birth defects, according to a new study. Microcephaly is common among babies who acquired Zika from their infected mothers while in the womb.

Other Birth Defects Are Still Possible

The study, which was conducted in Colombia by several experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it is stated that the findings are still initial ones. The doctors, however, think that "it is critically important" to continue observing babies from Zika-affected mothers to ensure that they don't display other birth defects, Reuters reported.

Dr. Margaret Honein, chief of the birth defects branch at the CDC, said babies in Colombia can still exhibit Zika-related disorders such as vision or hearing problems and other development issues. Zika virus, which is transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, attacks a fetus' brain cells and cause microcephaly, a condition where babies have abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains.

Aside from pregnant women, men can also transfer the Zika virus via unprotected sex. According to the World Health Organization, men who displayed Zika-like symptoms like fever, rash, red eyes and painful joints or muscles should practice safe sex or abstain from sexual acts for at least six months, CNN reported.

There are also suspicions that Zika can be transferred via anal sex and oral sex with ejaculation. Couples living in countries affected by the Zika outbreak should consider delaying pregnancy, WHO advised.

Zika Virus In The US

Three babies with Zika-related birth defects have recently been born in the United States, The Guardian reported. The CDC is also closely following the pregnancies of 234 women carrying the virus.

All the cases are linked to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the Zika outbreak is most pronounced. There has been no reported local spread of Zika in the U.S.

Dr. Jason James, chairman of the Baptist Health Resource Center's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said Miami is the most vulnerable area in the U.S. when it comes to a potential Zika outbreak, Miami Herald reported. Miami's tropical weather is an ideal breeding ground for Zika-carrying mosquitoes. Plenty of Latin Americans also travel to the city.

Experts at the CDC said in the Journal of Medical Entomology that 183 counties from 26 states and the District of Columbia have Aedes aegypti mosquito populations between January 1995 and March 2016. Aedes albopictus mosquito populations occur in 1,241 counties from 40 states and the District of Columbia. Aside from Zika, the insects also transmit yellow fever, chikungunya and dengue.

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