The U.S Zika Pregnancy Registry, chosen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has confirmed that the Zika virus has affected expectant women in the US.
Since June 9, 2016, 234 pregnant women tested positive in the U.S alone. Other cases were discovered in one hundred and eighty-nine other territories in the U.S and the District of Columbia.
According to the experts at the CDC, Zika is an infection that is provoked by mosquito bites. And when a pregnant woman is bitten, the virus causes her developing fetus to have microcephaly.
This is a case where the baby’s skull is too small and abnormal, and this might be accompanied by brain defects.
The virus is also sexually transmitted and it has been found in the amniotic fluid, brain tissue and spinal fluid of babies who have been born with microcephaly.
Out of the 234 pregnant women with Zika in their system, six abnormalities have been found. That is, three babies have been born with birth defects and three others died even before they were born.
The CDC officials hesitated to state the number of ladies who have delivered their babies and how many are still pregnant.
According to Sabrina Tavernise, officially working for The New York Times, the current report about Zika virus infections is arguable. She points out that if the amount of babies who have been born so far is unknown; there is no clear way of establishing who may suffer from the six abnormalities we mentioned above.
Could we say that these abnormalities represent just the tiny percentage of ladies who are infected?
To answer Sabrina’s questions, a lead CDC officer in matters of pregnancy and birth defects, Denise Jamieson, stated the newly released report is the first in a series of others that will come out soon to give more information to the public.
Denise admitted to The New York Times that the officials are not in a position to say much about this subject. She said that they could not offer a lot of details on the status of pregnancies carried by the infected women.
She insisted that the officials could not disclose this information, even by mistake, and they won’t say a thing about how these women are coping with the news so far.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not disclosed anything about the location of these ladies when they got bitten by Zika mosquito. As well, how they came into contact with it was not disclosed.
However, it is known that one of the fetuses was delivered with microcephaly. As aforesaid, Microcephalic babies’ brains are not fully developed and they have an abnormally tiny head and cognitive disorders.
As Denise Jamieson said, the danger of an infected mother delivering a baby with birth defects is relatively big—one to fifteen percent. She stressed that babies with Microcephaly disorders are starting to be born in the U.S.
No matter where the victims are discovered, their symptoms seem to be much related, Jamieson added. Research that has been done so far indicates that the Zika virus does not have harsh effects on other people. It is only women who are pregnant and their growing fetuses that are in big danger.
About eighty percent of healthy people who have been bitten by this mosquito never know they have been infected. Though it may cause fever and rashes, they only last a few weeks and the person may feel better without visiting the hospital.
Discovered in 1947 in apes, Zika virus is not a new discovery at all. It gets its name from the Zika Forest found in Uganda, where it was first discovered. Hence, the initial Zika virus infection happened in Uganda in 1952, and then it was found in the Republic of Tanzania.
Prior to the year 2007, there were 14 cases of Zika infections reported and documented. It is also possible that there were other cases of this virus that never got discovered, leave alone reported, according to CDC.
This is mainly because Zika triggers an infection that is similar to those triggered by several other diseases. As a result, it can easily go unnoticed. If a man was recently infected with the virus and then goes ahead to have intercourse with an uninfected person, they could pass the virus easily that they think.
Therefore, the CDC confirms that the best way to stop transmission of the virus is by having protected intercourse. Additionally, people, especially expectant women, should always use treated mosquito nets while sleeping.
As Denise Jamieson told The Washington Post Lena H. Sun, the observation so far is that there has been a consistent pattern emphasizing that Zika virus triggers microcephaly and serious brain deformities in fetuses.
Therefore, this underlines the importance of avoiding mosquito bites at any cost, traveling to Zika-prone areas when pregnant and stopping unwanted pregnancies. For instance, if a woman and her partner do not want a baby, they could use a condom to prevent a pregnancy that could otherwise cause the defects we have mentioned above if the virus is, indeed, exchanged.
Although Zika is a bad omen, scientists are working relentlessly to find a suitable cure and more methods of preventing the disease. Perhaps you have not heard that there is a certain team of international researchers that invented a tool for carrying out Zika diagnosis in only three hours.
That was good but, so far, there is no vaccine or drug for pregnant women who are accidentally bitten by this bug. Once a woman gets infected, there is no much assistance she can receive.
Brazil has equally suffered from the emergence of Zika Virus. Since the past year, medical professionals in Brazil have seen an increasing pattern of microcephalic births. As a result, they think that Zika infections could be the leading cause of this.
While it was difficult, at first, to draw such conclusions, now the US centers for Disease Control and Preventions have adequate proof. As Dr. Tom Frieden, the CDC director, said, now there is no doubt that Zika triggers microcephaly.
Months before this discovery was made health facilities and the CDC had been advising women to use protection during intercourse, to stay in safe areas if pregnant and to use mosquito nets and repellents not to give birth to babies with birth defects.
So far, they have not changed this advice, and they are working day and night to find a way to end this misery. The only thing that the CDC officials hope to gain is the public attention so as to convince people that Zika is more dangerous that they perceive it.
Prior to discovering that Zika is the cause of microcephaly, doctors did not want to say it directly to the public. Now the new discovery gives them the mandate to rebuke this dangerous virus openly so that people can be more careful, particularly the pregnant women and those who might get unwanted pregnancies.
The official CDC report was featured in the New England Journal of Medicine. Not only did the report attract the attention of the general public, but also Dr. Bruce Aylward, a WHO (World Health Organization) lead officer in Zika research, who praised it.
As you may know, Zika has also affected the Caribbean and some parts of Latin America in the past few months. If a cure is not found easily, Zika’s profound effects will only get worse even in the USA.
This is possible, mostly because mosquitoes thrive more during the months of spring and summer. Hence, this is a time when people need to seriously protect themselves to reduce the number of fetal deaths and distressing birth deformities that have been noted.
While there are Zika infection cases in the U.S, so far, none is linked to a mosquito bite anywhere in the fifty states. It has been through travel to Zika-prone areas that the CDC did not want to reveal in their report.