Zika Virus Linked To Several Cases of Birth Defects in Brazil

Zika Virus Linked To Several Cases of Birth Defects in Brazil

Puerto Rico reported that it has found the first case of Zika virus. Zika virus is an illness which gets transmitted by mosquitoes. The illness has caused a number of birth defects in Brazil.

Puerto Rico’s Health Secretary Ana Rius said in a statement on Thursday that the unidentified patients had not travelled recently and lives in the island’s eastern region.

Symptoms of the illness include slight fever, headache and joint pain in the hands and feet. As per health officials, symptoms of the Zika virus infection are very much similar to that of people infected with two mosquito-borne illnesses dengue fever and chikungunya.

Apart from this, scientists said that Zika virus infections have led to a recent increase in cases of babies being born with abnormal heads. Scientists said several babies born in these areas within this year had small heads, a condition which they call microcephaly, which often results in mental retardation.

As per reports, over 2,700 babies in Brazil were born with microcephaly in 2015. The ratio was up from fewer than 150 in 2014. Seeing the severity of the situation, Brazil health officials have accepted that the surge in the abnormal births is being linked to a sudden outbreak of the Zika virus.

Since the first case of Zika virus detected in May 2015, health officials estimated that between 440,000 and 1.3 million people have been infected with the infectious virus.

Rodrigo Stabeli, vice president of the Rio de Janeiro-based Fiocruz research institute, said, “We are looking at the beginning of an epidemic in a country that has in between 200,000 and 300,000 births per year, which shows how worried we are. It's a virus we don't know that much about”.