What is Microcephaly and How is associated with Zika Virus?
Microcephaly means being born with an abnormally small head.
Small in relation to the rest of the body. and it indicates that the brain may not have grown adequately during pregnancy
It can be caused by a number of conditions, infections, severe malnutrition, exposure to toxic chemicals…
but we Doctors worried at the moment that the new emergence of Zika virus, a relatively mild infection, in South America, has been associated with infections, presumably early in pregnancy which has affected the growth of the baby’s brains.
How to know if a Pregnant Lady is Affected with Zika Virus Microcephaly?
In order to know whether your child has Zika Virus microcephaly or not, the first is you need to talk to your obstetrician or midwife, who is caring for you antenatally and it may be possible to do ultrasound scans later on in the pregnancy, to look at the baby’s brain and to look at measures of brain growth but not all cases will be picked up in the antenatal period.
Once the baby is born of course, then the baby needs to be properly assessed by a pediatrician, by examining the baby looking at developmental milestones and by doing brain imaging and measuring the head in relation to the size of the body.
What to do if Child has Microcephalic?
There are certainly cases of children born with small heads, considered to be microcephalic, who have gone on to have completely normal development.
They may be the exception rather than the norm, but these cases certainly exist and we don’t know much about if there is this association between the Zika Virus and microcephaly, which seems to be the case, what end of the spectrum, whether this is the severe end of the mild end.
So we have to be cautious what all children need is love and care and attention and stimulation and very good pediatric care and help from developmental specialists if they’re running into developmental problems.
Precautions to take from Zika Virus?
If you live in an affected region, where these mosquitoes are present, you must assume that you are potentially at risk of contracting Zika virus… in South America right now,
So, therefore, you do need to take personal protection, that means making sure mosquitoes are excluded from your house, making sure that you use insect repellents to stop being bitten by mosquitoes, covering up during the daytime with clothes that will protect you from being bitten, with the Aedes mosquitoes you have to worry about being bitten in the morning and during the daytime and most important of all being part of a community and neighborhood movement to remove breeding sites of mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes breed weather there is stagnant pools of water, in many urban situations you’ll find upturned tires, upturned flower pots, rubbish, puddles, dumps and if you mobilize the community we can do a lot to remove that source of mosquito breeding.
There are also chemicals that will kill the early forms of the mosquitoes, the larvae, so Countries need to really get on a war footing against the mosquito.