Understanding the Link Between Zika and Microcephaly

Understanding the Link Between Zika and Microcephaly

For most adults, Zika rarely even reveals itself upon initial infection. In fact, only one in five will show symptoms. For women who are looking to become mothers soon, or women who are already pregnant, there is a serious risk of complication to her unborn child.

Aside from other complications, the most common is microcephaly.

Microcephaly is a condition that causes a baby’s head to be much smaller than normal. Typically the brain does not develop properly during the pregnancy which results in a lack of growth in the head. The severity of the condition can range greatly. It may be an isolated birth defect or may appear along with many other.

New research has revealed, however, that perhaps the chance of microcephaly occurring as a result of Zika is less than we originally thought. In fact, a new study shows that the Zika virus us associated with a 1 in 100 risk of microcephaly.

Women who are infected with the Zika virus during the first trimester of their pregnancy are looking at roughly a 1 in 100 chance of having a baby born with microcephaly. While this may sound like a relatively small risk, it still poses a significant health risk that no mother would wish upon their child.

As a result, the CDC advises that women who are pregnant avoid traveling to Zika impacted areas.

Additionally, since Zika can be spread during sexual contact, women are advised to use protection when having sex with a male partner who has recently traveled to impacted areas. Even if a man is not showing signs of the virus, he still may be infected and able to spread it.

The primary method of spreading the virus still remains a mosquito bite so if a woman is pregnant, she should avoid travel to impacted areas.

Microcephaly is not only isolated to those with Zika, it may also occur as a result of changes in a babies genes, specific infections during pregnancy or a woman being close to or touching toxins during pregnancy.

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