Zika Virus Affecting Infant’s Brain

Zika Virus Affecting Infant’s Brain

Women in Brazil have been recommended by the health authorities to currently avoid pregnancy. The recommendation has been given subsequent to detection of damaged brain in several newborns due to a virus called Zika. The virus is found in African forest monkeys in new West Nile and has resulted in alarming danger. The pathogen has same effect as the West Nile virus and was found more than 70 years ago.

The virus transmission in humans mainly occurs through mosquito and results in certain mild symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The symptoms include fever, headache rash, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches and joint pains. Less than 1% of the people, who are infected by the pathogen, have been detected with neurologic diseases like encephalitis and meningitis, which causes the inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissues.

The alarming threat was raised by the health officials after it was discovered that Zika virus can result in microcephaly, which is contraction in the skull of babies. Over 2,400 suspected cases of microcephaly have been detected in Brazil in 2015. The country witnessed the maximum increase from 147 cases of microcephaly in 2014. “These are newborns who will require special attention their entire lives. It's an emotional stress that just can't be imagined.We're talking about a generation of babies that's going to be affected,” said Angela Rocha, a Pediatric Infectious Diseases Specialist in Pernambuco.

In a statement provided to CNN News, That's the message for would-be parents, especially in the country's northeast, after officials linked a mosquito-borne virus called Zika to a surge in newborn microcephaly, a neurological disorder that can result in incomplete brain development.

"It's a very personal decision, but at this moment of uncertainty, if families can put off their pregnancy plans, that's what we're recommending," Angela Rocha, the pediatric infectologist at Oswaldo Cruz Hospital in Brazil's hardest-hit state, told CNN.

WashingtonPost report said, Brazilian health authorities are sounding the alarm about a mosquito-borne virus that they believe may be the cause of thousands of infants being born with damaged brains.

The pathogen, known as Zika and first discovered in forest monkeys in Africa over 70 years ago, is the new West Nile -- a virus that causes mild symptoms in most but can lead to serious neurological complications or even death in others. Brazil's health ministry said on Nov. 28 that it had found the Zika virus in a baby with microcephaly — a rare condition in which infants are born with shrunken skulls — during an autopsy after the child died. The virus was also found in the amniotic fluid of two mothers whose babies had the condition.

According to the ValueWalk, The Zika virus was first reported in Africa after the Second World War, then moved Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific and to Latin America in the 21st Century.

The latest data also suggest that the virus is responsible for a huge increase in the number of cases of microcephaly in Brazil, a very rare condition where infants have small skulls because their brains aren’t growing properly during pregnancy. Brazilian health officials note, however, that microcephaly has not been connected to the Zika virus before.