A mosquitoes-causing little-known virus is going to cause one of the most alarming health crises in Brazil in coming years. Officials have reported thousands of brain damage cases, wherein babies are born with strangely tiny heads.
The news has made all Brazil women panic. The government has been facing withering criticism for not taking timely action. It has urged women to take every precaution to avoid mosquito bites. In fact, an official has suggested that women living in regions where mosquitoes are mainly prevalent should delay their child planning.
Claudio Maierovitch, director of the department of surveillance of communicable diseases at Brazil’s Health Ministry, said that if a woman can wait, then she must wait.
Huge rise in babies with microcephaly (my-kroh-SEF-uh-lee), an uncommon, incurable condition wherein their heads are abnormally tiny, have alamed the situation. In 2015, Brazilian officials have registered more than 2,782 cases in comparison to mere 147 in 2014 and 167 in 2013.
Around 40 infants have died recently, and some Brazilian researchers have warned that the cases are likely to multiply in the coming months. The babies who manage to survive could face lifetime impaired intellectual development.
According to Brazilian researchers, recently discovered obscure mosquito-borne virus, Zika is the culprit for the sudden surge in brain damage in the little ones. However, other virologists have warned that more testing is required to prove the dangerous relation between the virus and brain damage. This has left the full extent of the threat the country and the hemisphere is facing, unclear.
Alain Kohl, a virologist at the University of Glasgow who studies Zika, said, “Why this may have happened in Brazil and not elsewhere is at this stage difficult to answer. Perhaps it was never properly registered in other areas, or the situation in Brazil is indeed different”. He gave the statement while citing the possibility that the association between Zika and microcephaly could be related to particular virus strains.