Risks Associated with Zikaare More than Birth Defects

Risks Associated with Zikaare More than Birth Defects

Zika virus is more dangerous for developing fetuses than earlier thought, warned director Anthony Fauciof the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The mosquito-borne virus posesgreater risk to fetuses than currently estimated.

Several recent studies have linked Zika virus to a rare birth defect, calledmicrocephaly. It is a condition where babies of infected mothers take birth with a small head. Apart from microcephaly, other birth defects associated with it are:blindness,deafness,seizures and various types of neurological and developmental abnormalities.

A study conducted in the US earlier this year suggested that chances ofmicrocephalyare from one to 13% when a mother is infected with Zika during the pregnancy’sfirst trimester.The study didn’t analyze the risk of other defects during pregnancy, saidFauci.

“If you’re talking about any congenital defect, I think it’s going to be much higher than 13%.I think we’re going to see something very disturbing”, saidFauci, also a top US health official, in a statementduring a panel discussion on the deadly virus.

Not just Fauci, but even the World Health Organization (WHO) has called Zika a serious problem for the world. In February, the specialized United Nations agencyannouncedemergency over the association between Zika and microcephaly.

Currently, several nations in theAmericas are dealing with the Zika problem. Brazil is the hardest hit nation where several cases of themosquito-borne virus andmicrocephaly were reported in the recent past. The WHO and the US Congresshave sped up their efforts against the virus. Many teams of expert have been working to find effective treatments to deal with the virus.

Fauci said it is necessary to keep on conducting trials with potential vaccines to find an effective cure.



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