Zika: Risk higher than first thought, say ex­perts

Fiji Sun - - World News - Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

The mos­quito-borne Zika virus may be even more dan­ger­ous than pre­vi­ously thought, sci­en­tists in Brazil say. Lead­ing doc­tors have told the

BBC that Zika could be be­hind more dam­ag­ing neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions, af­fect­ing one in five preg­nant women who con­tract it.

Rates of in­crease in Zika in­fec­tion in some parts of Brazil have slowed, thanks to bet­ter in­for­ma­tion about pre­vent­ing the dis­ease. But the search for a vac­cine is still in the early stages. And Zika con­tin­ues to spread across the re­gion. Most doc­tors and med­i­cal re­searchers now agree that there is a link be­tween the Zika virus and mi­cro­cephaly, where ba­bies are born with ab­nor­mally small heads be­cause of re­stricted brain de­vel­op­ment.

While it is es­ti­mated that one per cent of women who have had Zika dur­ing preg­nancy will have a child with mi­cro­cephaly, doc­tors in Brazil have told the BBC that as many as 20 per cent of Zika-af­fected preg­nan­cies will re­sult in a range of other forms of brain dam­age to the baby in the womb.

A sep­a­rate study, re­ported in the New Eng­land Jour­nal of

Medicine, said that “29 per cent of scans showed ab­nor­mal­i­ties in ba­bies in the womb, in­clud­ing growth re­stric­tions, in women in­fected with Zika”.

Baby with mi­cro­cephaly.

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