Zika May Cause New Health Concerns for Pregnant Women

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(Newswire.net — March 4, 2019) — Having a baby is a time that is filled with anticipation and anxiety. Carrying a child is a very scary thing for women. Hoping for the best, there are so many possible things that can halt a woman’s dreams for a healthy pregnancy.

To add to the list is something called the Zika virus. Fears are being fuelled that this once thought harmless virus, could be responsible for a condition known as microcephaly, which has many public health officials panicking to stop the spread of it.

Last Friday the CDC issued a global travel advisory due to the findings related to the Zika virus. Confirming a case in Hawaii last week, and the effects that the virus had on a baby delivered, they have issued a warning to pregnant women not to travel to regions infected with the virus.

The Zika virus has been linked to something called microcephaly in babies. It can result in severe birth defects. A child that is born with microcephaly often doesn’t survive. Having a smaller brain than usual, the condition usually leads to mental retardation. Typically a consequence of other risk factors such as alcohol or genetic disease, the only other virus known linked to the microcephaly is rubella.

The thing that makes Zika so dangerous is that once thought benign, as many as one in four individuals experience no symptoms from contraction. That would mean that pregnant women would have no idea that they have even been exposed, or know what risk factors to look for.

For a while, Brazil has been trying to warn the medical community about the effects of Zika, but it has fallen on deaf ears. Only being identified last year, the virus is quickly spreading through the vector of mosquitos, which makes this an even scarier public health concern for women around the globe.

The good news is that Zika is not a contagious disease and cannot be transmitted from person to person. It needs a vector such as a mosquito to spread throughout the population, which is why the CDC believes that with proper safety measures, they can effectively curb its transmission and keep people out of Wojcik’s Funeral Chapel & Crematorium.

The problem is that the virus is being spread rapidly throughout Brazil. The woman whose baby was diagnosed with microcephaly in Hawaii was Brazilian, but now there are concerns that the disease may be spreading on US soil.

The link was made when Brazilian officials began to see a rise in microcephaly rates over the past several months as the contraction of the virus began to spread. Realizing the potential, they went to work to prove a causal relationship.

Now found in 14 countries from Mexico to Columbia, this could quickly turn into a real public health crisis for pregnant women around the globe. Not found anywhere else in Hawaii, it is believed that the woman contracted the illness while abroad, but that does not mean that she wasn’t able to infect others while traveling.

The Zika virus is a cousin of the dengue virus, which has already been indicated in Hawaii, so concerns are on high alert. It will take months for researchers to determine the way that the Zika virus works and why it has the ability to harm fetuses in utero.

The only recommendations that they can make is that pregnant women not travel to locales where the virus is known to be spread and to be diligent about wearing mosquito repellant and taking precautions to protect themselves if living, or traveling in places where the virus has been found.

The problem with this type of transmission is that it is tough to protect yourself from mosquito bites. The chemicals used to stave them off are also of concern to pregnant women, so choosing the worse of two evils may cause more anxiety for pregnant women who are already anxious.

It is important that people don’t overreact but that they proceed with caution. Likely, more mosquito control methods will be employed to stop the spread of the virus. Now that health officials understand the potential, more efforts will likely be focused on doing away with the mosquito population to take the burden off of people to protect themselves through means, which have to date, not been proven very reliable.