Zika Virus And Birth Defects: 10 Facts You Need To Know

zika-virus-baby-00b
telegraph.co.uk

It’s official. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Zika virus to be a global health emergency. As parents, our main priority is the health of our child. So if you are an expectant mom or are planning to become one sometime soon, then it’s really important that you learn about the Zika virus outbreak as experts fear this infection is spreading very fast.

And just in case you still haven’t heard, Florida just confirmed its first Zika-related case of microcephaly.

So why should you be concerned about the Zika virus? Here’s why: The Zika virus has been linked to birth defects in babies known as skull-misshaping microcephaly (my-kroh-SEF-uh-lee) shown in the photo above, which may result to mental disabilities, as well as delays in speech, movement, and growth.

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According to Peter Jay Hotez, MD, PhD, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, when pregnant women are infected with Zika, the unborn baby is exposed to serious risks from Zika virus complications:

We’re seeing illness when it strikes women who are pregnant, and it’s producing a horrific effect of microcephaly. We don’t know when in pregnancy the consequences are greatest.

The ongoing Zika virus epidemic is fast spreading in Central, South America, and the Caribbean. WHO has voiced serious concern for its spread throughout the majority of the Americas … including possibly the United States, especially in the upcoming summer months.

… 23 countries and territories have reported cases, and there are some 4,000 babies that have been born with the skull-misshaping microcephaly, according to the World Health Organization. Source: ForeignPolicy.com

The WHO, in fact, warned of the potential for a “marked increase” in the number of Zika cases globally (including the U.S. and Europe) in the coming months and estimates that about 3 to 4 million people across the Americas will be infected with the Zika virus over the next year.

To learn more about the 10 important facts that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants you to know about the Zika virus, please go to the next page.

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