Tens of thou­sands of ba­bies face Zika risk

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TENS of thou­sands of ba­bies may be born with de­bil­i­tat­ing Zika-re­lated dis­or­ders in the course of the out­break sweep­ing through Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean, re­searchers said.

Math­e­mat­i­cal pro­jec­tions sug­gest about 93.4 mil­lion peo­ple may catch the virus – in­clud­ing some 1.65 mil­lion preg­nant women – be­fore the epi­demic fiz­zles out, a team re­ported in the jour­nal Na­ture Mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy on July 25.

Eighty per­cent of peo­ple will de­velop mild symp­toms or never even be aware they have the virus.

But for ba­bies in the womb Zika can be dev­as­tat­ing – linked to a brain-dam­ag­ing dis­or­der called mi­cro­cephaly that can lead to still­birth or se­verely dis­abling birth de­fects.

Among women in a high-risk early term of preg­nancy, any­thing be­tween 1pc and 13pc have foe­tuses de­velop mi­cro­cephaly or other Zikare­lated com­pli­ca­tions, said the mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary re­search team from the United States, Bri­tain and Swe­den.

This meant “some­where on the or­der of tens of thou­sands across the whole of Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean who could re­al­is­ti­cally end up de­vel­op­ing mi­cro­cephaly or a re­lated con­di­tion,” said study coau­thor Alex Perkins of the Univer­sity of Notre Dame in In­di­ana, and spec­i­fied this re­ferred to “live births”.

The pro­jec­tion was “a worst-case sce­nario” he told AFP, “but a re­al­is­tic one”.

It did not ac­count for women who may be post­pon­ing con­cep­tion or hav­ing abor­tions as a re­sult of the out­break. –

Photo: AFP

A child looks out through a mos­quito net at the Ma­ter­nity and Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Tegu­ci­galpa, Hon­duras, on Fe­bru­ary 26.

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