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Apr 20, 2016

The Link Between Zika and Microcephaly

There are precautionary measures that are recommended for pregnant women or those who plan pregnancy since it is now confirmed that zika is linked to microcephaly and also the Guillain Barre Syndrome. Brain tissues damages, bone calcifications, the reduction in the size of the head are among those defects that can be detected before the delivery of a baby.

 

Dr. Natalia Largaespada, Director, Maternal Child Health

“One of the main complications is the issue of the microcephaly. Unfortunately the studies are showing now that the highest viral load is detected in the fetus. The woman definitely needs to take some measures during pregnancy. We usually recommend, as Mister Bautista was mentioning earlier, measures at the family level like ensuring that on a weekly basis they destroy all breeding sites to reduce the number of mosquitoes, the use of clothing, the use of mosquito nets, bed nights. Even during naps during the day, they should sleep under bed nets and at night also. And if they partner travel to a country with zika, when they come back, they should use condoms. In fact, we should be recommending the use of condoms consistently because it is demonstrated now that zika is a sexually transmitted virus.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“Is this the only vector borne illness that is sexually transmitted?”

 

Natalia Largaespada

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“So far yes. It had been documented in 2014.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“For pregnant women, is there a specific period as to where they are more vulnerable to having their fetus affected by the virus?”

 

Dr. Natalia Largaespada
“Throughout the pregnancy, but some evidence is showing that only if the woman has symptoms and I think the issue is fever, then more than likely she will have complications with the fetus. So what we routinely recommend for all pregnant women is one ultrasound testing at eighteen to twenty-two weeks and that is to determine the viability of the fetus, confirm the expected delivery date and other issues. So this is also recommended if we are suspecting zika. So we have that in place already. There is a second testing that will need to be done and that is twenty-eight, twenty-nine weeks pregnancy and that will help the clinicians to make informed decisions or inform the couple of the risks of complications with the fetus in the case of a suspected cause of zika during pregnancy.”

 

Even though there is no official confirmation of zika in Belize, Doctor Manzanero has maintained that it is more a matter of when. 

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