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Zika Virus Infection: Risk of Fetal Brain Abnormality

Zika virus
Syringe with drugs for Zika virus infection disease

A pattern of other birth defects, called congenital Zika syndrome, has been found, which is unique to fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth. Prenatal Zika virus infection has been linked to adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, most notably microcephaly and other serious brain anomalies.

Intoduction

Zika virus First time discovered in Uganda, in 1947 and recognised as a member of Flavivirus family. Flavivirus cause dengue, yellow fever and West Nile fever. Zika virus is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Most people who become infected with Zika virus do not become sick. Only 20 percent people are effected by Zika. Virus is generally eliminated from the body after few weeks but it remain longer in semen.

 

Facts about Zika

What is Microcephaly ?

Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. During pregnancy, a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows. Microcephaly can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size.

There is no evidence that Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly. We do not know the fact about microcephaly develop during pregnancy or afterbirth.

Diagnosis

Microcephaly can be diagnosed during pregnancy or after the baby is born.

During Pregnancy

First Trimester Screening

First trimester screening is a combination of tests completed between weeks 11 and 13 of pregnancy. This screen includes a maternal blood test and an ultrasound.

Second Trimester Screening

Second trimester screening tests are completed between weeks 15 and 20 of pregnancy.

High resolution Ultrasound

This ultrasound, also known as a level II ultrasound, is used to look in more detail for possible birth defects or other problems with the baby It is usually completed between weeks 18 and 22 of pregnancy.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

CVS is a test where the doctor collects a tiny piece of the placenta, called chorionic villus, which is then tested to check for chromosomal or genetic disorders in the baby. It is completed between 10 and 12 weeks of pregnancy, earlier than an amniocentesis.

Amniocentesis

After the Baby is Born

Certain birth defects might not be diagnosed until after the baby is born. Sometimes, the birth defect is immediately seen at birth. For other birth defects including some heart defects, the birth defect might not be diagnosed until later in life.

Relation between Pregnancy and Zika Virus

New study Showed that the possible importance of Zika virus RNA testing of serum obtained from pregnant women beyond the first week after symptom onset, that time detailed evaluation of the fetal intracranial anatomy by means of serial fetal ultrasonography or fetal brain MRI. The isolation of Zika virus from fetal brain provides additional evidence for the association between congenital Zika virus infection and fetal brain damage and provides tools.  Its exact pathogenesis is not clear.

 

Conclusion

Zika virus infection is mild disease but pregnant women and fetus are affected badly. Studies have confirmed that microcephaly is caused by Zika virus. But its pathogenesis is unclear. Medication and vaccine haven’t clear their clinical test. So we don’t have any medication. Research and studies are going on and found targeted protein inside the virus which would be the reason of controlling them.

Only precautions are the solution for protection.

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