Study Bares Zika Birth Defects

By alexa ancheta, Parent Herald December 18, 06:16 am

A study revealed more evidence that the Zika virus could lead to birth defects such as neurological issues and microcephaly or a baby born with a small head. However, Dr. Simon Cauchemez, co-author of the study, said they have yet to find out if the study results apply in the same way to other countries other than those in French Polynesia which is the subject of the study based on the country's Zika virus outbreak from 2013 to 2014.

As reported by CBS News, more than 31,000 infections were reported and eight microcephaly cases reported as a result of the outbreak.Arnaud Fontanet of the Institut Pasteur in France, who is also the co-author of Cauchemez in the study, said that with the outbreak already over, data from the outbreak in French Polynesia has never been more important.

NPR said one of the most important question that needs to be answered now is the gravity of the risk of the Zika virus in the United States. While birth defects were initially believed to affect only babies who were born in some areas of Brazil, the new study shows that 6% or 26 of the 442 pregnant women who got exposed in others countries but who came to the United States to complete their pregnancies have experienced defects in their newborns which were linked to the virus.

"It's not specific to one geographic location," Margaret Honein of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. "This really helps make the point that Zika virus infection poses a major risk to pregnant women and their fetuses."

Latinos Health said a report published by the Emerging Infectious Diseases shows that the reproductive process of the virus does not stop when the baby is born but continues even after that leading to possible brain damage.The New England Journal of Medicine also stated that out of 125 pregnant women infected in Brazil, 46% experienced birth complication such as birth defects and miscarriage.

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