THE RISK OF ZIKA VIRUS TO PREGNANT WOMEN

Zika virus infection is caused by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, usually causing rushes, mild fever, conjunctivitis, and muscle pain.

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The virus causes only mild illness, but not to pregnant women. The danger is much greater, because of the impact the disease can have on fetal development. Small percentage of women with zika virus have given birth to infants with an abnormally small heads and stunted brain growth —– a condition known as microcephaly. Microcephaly is a neurological condition where babies are born with small head and sometimes small brains. But this does not mean that if you are infected with Zika virus during pregnancy, your baby will experience health problems. It just means that infants whose mothers are infected with the virus during pregnancy have an increased risk. Many pregnant women infected during this outbreak have apparently delivered healthy babies.

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Some infants infected wih Zika virus before birth have been found to have other birth defects like vision and hearing defects, missing brain structures or poor growth. It can also cause pregnancy loss. The full spectrum of outcomes for babies infected with Zika virus is still being studied, but we do know even babies who do not show initial signs of birth defects may develop progressive damage. While the Zika virus remains in the blood of an infected person for a few days to a week, there’s no current evidence to suggest that it poses a risk of birth defects in future pregnancies. And Zika virus won’t cause infections in a baby that’s conceived after the virus has left the bloodstream.

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Due to this, pregnant women have to be very careful. You’ll never know when or where this virus can affect you. And because there’s no Zika vaccine and no medication to protect the fetus carrying the virus, the best approach is preventing mosquito bites. Even if you live in a Zika-virus-free area. To prevent this, also try applying mosquito repellent every time you go outside. Stay inside during peak mosquito hours or you can wear clothes covering your arms and legs. Be careful also in having sexual intercourse with others, because Zika virus can be transmitted through sex.

 

Sources:

Retrieved Dec. 15,2016

http://www.babycenter.com/0_zika-in-pregnancy_10412622.bc

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/07/nyregion/new-york-city-zika.html

http://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9183&Itemid=41711

http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-health/zika

 

 

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