A baby girl was born Tuesday at the New Jersey Hackensack University Medical Center, the unnamed baby has been the first Zika-linked newborn in the state.
According to several reports, the newborn’s mom is a 31-year-old woman that contracted the Zika virus while traveling in Honduras. The women arrived at the New Jersey hospital on Friday complaining about a rash that started, two days before finishing her vacation.
No Zika symptoms were presented in the Women until she arrived in the United States, she was then treated by a surgical team while giving birth to her baby girl.
According to Fox News, doctors in Honduras had suspected a series of intracranial complications while examining the child in the uterus, yet the case wasn’t confirmed until she was diagnosed at the New Jersey hospital.
The women’s aunt confirmed to Fox News that the patient has a fragile emotional state after understanding the complications on her child. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 25,000 cases of microcephaly are presented every year in the United States, thanks to different life factors that are not necessarily linked to the Zika virus.
Babies born with microcephaly suffer from a birth defect in which their head is smaller than an average baby of the same age and sex, which is linked to smaller brain size since the brain wasn’t able to develop in a proper way.
— Dawn McKinney MSN (@napernurse) June 1, 2016
Understanding microcephaly disease
In an average pregnancy, the baby’s head tends to grow along with the development of the head, babies with the disease may have experienced a slower development of their brain, which caused their head to remain smaller.
In a common microcephaly case babies are born with no major birth defects, besides the head size.
When it comes to severe microcephaly babies experience a more severe form of the disease, babies with this type of the disease have a much smaller head than it had previously been expected. This occurs when the brain hasn’t developed properly or was damaged during pregnancy.
The CDC explains that microcephaly leads to several other problems on the development of the baby, such as seizures, developmental delay on the speech and other aspects, intellectual disability, problems with movement and balance, feeding problems, hearing loss, visual problems, among others.
The effects of the disease can variate between babies with average microcephaly and severe microcephaly, this last one can affect the life of a newborn since it could be life threatening. Babies with the disease will need a constant check upon their development and growth.
“It could become a very complicated life for those parents, it could be a real burden for those families,” said Dr. Stephen Lauer an associate professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center to Healthline.
The causes of the disease can variate and are commonly unknown or unpredictable, in some cases, the disease presents itself on a baby that has suffered a change in their genes. Yet other causes include exposures during the gestation of the baby.
— Maia Majumder, MPH (@maiamajumder) June 1, 2016
These exposures include infections during the pregnancy such as rubella, cytomegalovirus, and toxoplasmosis. Malnutrition, exposure to harmful substances such as drugs or alcohol and the interruption of a blood supply during pregnancy also causes the disease to develop.
Most recently, cases of babies with microcephaly have presented thanks to the exposure of the mosquito-transmitted disease known as the Zika virus.
Babies with the disease are mostly diagnosed with an ultrasound test before they are born during the 2nd trimester or the beginnings of the third trimester of the pregnancy. When a newborn is suspected of the disease medical authorities perform a head circumference test.
Zika virus and microcephaly
The virus presents itself through a rash on different parts of the body along with joint pains, conjunctivitis, fever and in some cases vomiting.
The disease tends to last for several days to weeks after being infected, it is very rare for a patient to die from the disease. Although if complicated, patients might experience severe pain and body paralysis.
In the vast majority of the cases, patients are not aware of the virus on their body and it passes as a simple and common flue. But when it comes to pregnancy and Zika the consequences are higher and permanent.
When a pregnant woman gets infected by the virus disease the unborn child suffers from complications while developing and tends to suffer from microcephaly and other brain defects. On February 1 of the current year, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed Zika as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) since the virus spreads across the world.
Currently, there are no vaccines to prevent the Zika virus, so prevention methods include mosquito repellents, long sleeved shirts, and pants, keeping windows and doors closed, controlling mosquitoes on the outside of the home and using mosquito bed nets,
The CDC has advised world travelers, especially those visiting Zika infected areas, to prevent mosquito bites so they do not spread across the area. As well as performing safe sex or restraining from the activity for eight weeks.
Source: Fox News