Zika virus causes microcephaly in newborns

Zika virus causes microcephaly in newborns

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The zika virus It is not new, it was discovered in 1947 in Uganda when it came to controlling yellow fever. It has gone virtually unnoticed since then until an outbreak occurred on the island of Yab in northern Australia in 2007 where 8187 people suffered from the disease.

Since then the number of cases has been increasing and the virus has spread around the world. Countries such as Brazil, the United States, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Suriname, and Venezuela are already sick with the Zika virus. Some of the most affected are newborns since the virus causes malformations such as microcephaly.

There is a health alert, especially in affected countries, since causes microcephaly in newborns, a neurological disorder in which affected babies are born with smaller heads. As the child grows, his face continues to grow, but the skull does not, so the child has a disproportionately long face and a sunken forehead.

Microcephaly in these cases caused by the Zika virus, develops during pregnancy and is usually associated with some degree of mental retardation, although in 15% of cases the child has normal intelligence. There is no cure for this disorder and currently cannot be corrected.

The Pan American Health Organization has warned about an increased risk of microcephaly in babies and malformations when the disease is caused by the mother during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Brazil is one of the countries where the number of cases of babies with microcephaly has increased the most, and there have already been 3,530 cases related to the Zika virus between October 2015 and January 2016, so the authorities alert pregnant mothers to take precautionary measures against mosquito bites, such as using repellants, place mosquito nets on doors and windows and avoid accumulations of water in flowerpots or other containers.

- How is the virus transmitted? In the same way as dengue or chikungunya, through the bite of the female mosquito 'Aedes aegypti', although there have been cases of sexual transmission.

- Is the virus transmitted by breastfeeding? It is not transmitted by breastfeeding the baby.

- What are your symptoms? Red spots on the skin, fever, muscle and joint aches and headaches. Symptoms disappear after seven days except for joint pain that persists longer.

- How is the Zika virus cured? There is no vaccine to cure it and the only treatment so far is through the use of paracetamol to control pain and fever.

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