Researchers are noticing a disturbing trend in the amount of birth defects caused by the Zika virus–they are increasing, substantially. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at the rate of birth defects among newborns before and after the Zika epidemic spread around the globe a couple of years ago. The researchers noticed that six percent of the general population of pregnant women who gave birth after the Zika virus spread had children with birth defects six percent of the time. This is a twenty percent increase in the amount of birth defects since the epidemic began.
The most common birth defects can be identified as microcephaly, however in some cases the disease can ravage the eyes and central nervous system of newborn babies born to mother infected with the Zika virus. As a result of this surprisingly high rate of post-Zika birth defects, health officials are urging pregnant women to avoid certain regions considered to be high risk.
Obviously public health authorities are paying the closest attention to the state of Florida, as well as the Gulf States. Certain areas in Florida as well as certain areas along the Gulf coast have reported cases of local Zika transmission, which includes two hundred and fifteen cases in Florida and six in Texas. Although the CDC declared the state of Florida to be a Zika-free zone, health officials are still urging pregnant women to use extreme caution when traveling the state during the spring and summer months.
It is advisable for expecting mothers to avoid visiting countries where the Zika virus is prevalent; these countries include Puerto Rico, Brazil and Southeast Asia, where Zika is endemic. If you have visited any of these areas during the past several months, then be sure to use condoms during sexual intercourse as the virus is transmitted through semen.
Have you encountered any newborn children who have been afflicted with microcephaly?