Researchers from the U.S. have found evidence that the Zika virus can replicate for up to 7 months inside fetal brains, and that the virus persists even after the child has been born.
The discovery explains why Zika has such an adverse impact on babies
The fact that Zika can replicate in the babies brains after birth explains why some babies who appear to be normal at birth can suddenly develop symptoms of microcephaly.
“Our findings show that Zika virus can continue to replicate in infants’ brains even after birth, and that the virus can persist in placentas for months — much longer than we expected,” shares Julu Bhatnagar, lead of the molecular pathology team at the CDC’s Infectious Diseases Pathology Branch.
“We don’t know how long the virus can persist, but its persistence could have implications for babies born with microcephaly and for apparently healthy infants whose mothers had Zika during their pregnancies,” Bhatnagar adds. “More studies are needed to fully understand how the virus can affect babies.”
Other reports show that Zika is spreading worldwide
Initially, Zika was confined to Latin American countries as well as in a few parts of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands. However, due to the prevalence of mosquitos carrying Zika, as well as other means of transmission , Zika is slowly spreading to non-endemic regions.
Since there’s currently no cure or treatment for Zika, it’s advised that pregnant women as well as women who plan on having a baby, especially in regions where Zika has been reported, should be extra careful since Zika affects fetuses and babies more than adults.
Go to the next page to learn more about combatting the Zika virus.
Combatting the Zika virus
While there is currently no known cure for Zika, it doesn’t mean that there’s no way to prevent infections from spreading further.
Here are some of the things that you can do in order to combat the Zika virus:
- Use insect repellent. Make sure to use insect repellent, especially if you live in tropical regions, or if there are a lot of mosquitos in your area.
- Wear long sleeved shirts and pants. Dress yourself in long sleeved shirts and pants so that mosquitos won’t have any open skin that they can bite. You should also dress babies and children in similar clothing so that they’re protected from mosquito bites.
- Clean the area around your house. If there are any containers that hold water near your home, make sure to empty them and clean the area around your house. Keeping your surroundings clean and free of any stagnant water is one of the best ways to prevent mosquito bites.
- Fumigate the area around your home. In some cases, fumigating your home and the surrounding areas is a good idea. Make sure to follow proper safety precautions when fumigating as some of these chemicals can have a harmful effect on you and your family’s health.
- When traveling, avoid Zika-prone areas. When traveling, do your best to avoid areas that have reported numerous cases of Zika infections. Traveling to Zika-prone areas is especially dangerous for pregnant women or women who are planning on having a baby.
READ: Pregnant 16-year-old tests positive for Zika virus in Las Piñas
Sources: upi.com, cdc.gov, huffingtonpost.com
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