In the last few months, attention has been drawn to the presence of the Zika virus in Brazil. Many news stories have been filed about this issue. One reporter talks to a Brazilian woman who has apparently been a victim of this virus. Her son was born with a birth defect known as microcephaly. This defect leads to babies born with smaller heads. A smaller head may lead to many kinds of problems including mental retardation, problems with the senses and a baby that is unable to suckle property. As she explains in a recent article in National Public Radio, she was exposed to the virus when she was pregnant with her son.
She considers this exposure the reason for her son’s problems. She is not alone. Many health experts have come to realize that such exposure may result in problems for the fetus that a pregnant woman carries. While experts cannot at present clarify the relationship between the virus and the potential for birth defects, they are fairly sure there is one. Research in recent years has shown this to be an issue. In the meantime, a number of Brazilian women have given birth to babies with severe birth defects. More than three thousand cases of this problem have been recorded in this area. Doctors and pregnant women have been highly concerned that the Zika virus may cause problems that are not known as yet. Many have been cautioned to seek medical attention in case of any possible exposure.
Women in Brazil are looking for accurate information. They want to find out exactly what they can do to protect themselves in the event of exposure to this virus. One health official who has stepped up and done his best to help people in Brazil make sense of the virus is Dr. Sergio Cortes. Cortes is one of the most respected doctors in Brazil. His work has included many aspects of medicine including caring for pregnant women. In a recent article, he talks about our present knowledge of this virus. He also talks about the ways in which people can avoid exposure to it as well as our state of present understanding about the virus. As he reminds us, we do not have a great deal of understanding of this subject at the present time. He talks at length about what we do know about this virus and the ways we can help prevent it.
As he tells us, the virus is linked to other kinds of viruses that are known to spread by mosquitoes including Dengue Fever. Research at present is concentrating on ways to help prevent the spread of the virus. It is also looking at important factors such as the possibility of developing a vaccine against it to prevent further spread. He tells patients who think they may have been exposed to the Zika virus to immediately seek help from a doctor. Symptoms of the virus can be quite painful but luckily modern medical science can help.