Two new reports have found that the Zika virus isn’t just causing microcephaly, but all kinds of brain damage in newborn babies.
Brazilian researchers noted that one in five babies who had brain damage due to the virus actually had normal-sized heads. This means they appear normal but actually have serious conditions that parents and doctors may not see until the child gets older.
This would indicate that a pregnant woman with Zika could have a normal-sized head baby, but the child may still suffer severe brain damage. The study also reveals that many pregnant women had no obvious symptoms of Zika, like a rash or any other invisible infections. That’s a bad thing for pregnant women who have no idea they had Zika until their babies are born and show symptoms.
The study also found that even late in the woman’s pregnancy, when a woman is exposed to Zika, her baby can still experience brain damage.
No pregnancy stage is safe.
There have been over 7,000 supposed cases of Zika brain damage in just Brazil since it first spread over a year ago. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention know nearly 300 pregnant women were infected with the virus through their travels with another 250 of them in U.S. territories. Seven were born with defects with six of them being aborted, miscarried or died.
Other studies show the Zika virus focuses on the developing brain and nerve cells, with doctors fearing babies who seem fine may actually have brain damage due to the virus. And, even more studies show that the virus can cause more than just microcephaly. Babies with Zika-infected mothers could experience both hearing and vision problems – all dependent upon which part of the brain the virus damaged.
It appears that the sooner the rash appeared in the pregnancy, the smaller the head circumference at birth. Rashes during the third trimester of pregnancy were linked to brain abnormalities even if they had normal sized heads.
According to scientists, it appears some pregnancies will be affected by the Zika virus while others will not. And, those women who are infected early into their pregnancy, may suffer a miscarriage.