Over the past week, the Zika Virus has returned to the news in a big way. It all started when the CDC reported that the negative health effects of the Zika Virus are worse than they suspected as research is uncovering more complications in those infected by the Virus. Along with the CDC’s statement, there have been several new reports released since we last updated you, bear with us as we give you the run down.
Zika Virus has Been Confirmed as a Cause of Microcephaly in Infants
The increase in microcephaly in infants in Brazil coinciding with a Zika Virus epidemic is what brought the Zika Virus into the world spotlight. Scientists have been working diligently to confirm the link between Zika Virus in pregnant women and microcephaly in infants. This week they have confirmed the causal relationship that Zika Virus can indeed cause microcephaly in infants whose pregnant mother becomes infected with the virus. Medscape reported in their story that a mother infected in the 1st and 2nd trimesters, when brain development is at its peak, increases the risk for microcephaly in her baby. There are many more studies underway to determine the risk of other birth defects (and the extent of the risk.) Right now the range is broad, between 1-29% of pregnant women infected with Zika Virus will have a baby with microcephaly.
More Zika Birth Defects
The New England Journal of Medicine reported on a study that found a variety of other birth defects linked to Zika Virus infection during pregnancy. The range of defects includes cerebral calcification, central nervous system alterations, intrauterine growth restrictions, abnormal arterial flow in the umbilical arteries and cerebral arteries, developmental failure in part of the brain, Macular hypoplasia, Blake’s pouch cyst, insufficient amniotic fluid, microcephaly and even resulted in 2 stillbirths. With these new potential birth defects along with the confirmation of microcephaly being caused by Zika, it is more important than ever to follow the CDC’s advice for couples thinking about pregnancy. Zika Virus can be transmitted through sexual activity, meaning couples exposed to Zika need to take extra precautions if they are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant.
Zika Has Been Linked to Health Complications Outside of Pregnancy & Newborns
Two major health complications in non-pregnant/non-newborn individuals have been linked to Zika Virus. While there are many more studies needed to confirm the link, Zika is suspected to cause Guillain-Barre syndrome and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). Both Guillain-Barre and ADEM are auto-immune disorders that can severely disrupt the lives of those affected. Guillain-Barre can even lead to death if not treated promptly and effectively. Auto-immune disorders are when a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body.
The Zika Mosquito’s Geographical Reach has Been Expanded
Not long before the news broke of the extent of the Zika Virus’s health effects, the CDC updated their report on the geographical reach of the Zika transmitting mosquitoes Aedes Aegypti & Aedes Albopictus. While both mosquitos were already reported as being in Greenville and Spartanburg area, the rest of the United States is experiencing an increased risk as the number went from 12 states to 30 states affected.
As we await the Zika Virus to play out during the 2016 mosquito season, it is vital that we think of prevention as the best method of protection. Start by following the CDC’s travel guide, advising pregnant women not to travel to affected countries. Avoiding mosquitoes and mosquito bites is really the best way to lower your risk. Following the 5 T’s of mosquito control will help lower the population of mosquitoes in your yard, but Mosquito Squad of Greenville’s traditional barrier spray is the best way to eliminate mosquitoes from your yard long term. Our barrier treatment eliminates 85-90% of mosquitoes in your yard and works for up to 3 weeks. Sign up for the season and we’ll come back every 2-3 weeks automatically, you don’t have to do a thing. Call today 864-277-4299.