Recently, the Zika virus has gained national attention.
The Zika virus has become known for the potential risk of birth defects, particularly microcephaly, which is characterized by an abnormally small head.
The Zika Virus
Zika virus is a disease transmitted via mosquito bite. The primary source of transmission is the Aedes species of mosquito. Although this virus has been a healthcare concern since the 1940s, it came into the limelight recently after it began to spread in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. There are reports of cases in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and, travel-related cases brought into the country.
Symptoms of Zika Virus
Zika virus does not cause immediate symptoms and some people may never experience any symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of the common symptoms of Zika virus infection are:
- red eyes (conjunctivitis)
- joint pain
Transmission of Zika Virus
Zika virus can be transmitted in various ways, in addition to mosquito bites. Transmission of the Zika vira can occur via:
- sexual contact
- blood transfusion
- mother to child
Risks of Zika Virus
Zika virus may cause mild to moderate symptoms. In most cases, the patient does not require hospitalization and very few patients die due to Zika virus. However, the risks of zika virus are particularly high among pregnant women. The most serious risks are:
Microcephaly: According to a recent research, there is a clear link between Zika virus and microcephaly. A large number of babies have been born with this condition living in the affected areas. It is a birth defect that results in a very small head, because of the brain not developing properly. Babies born with this defect may experience:
- development and intellectual delays
- difficulty with feeding, movement, or balance
- vision problems
- hearing loss
Brain damage: Exposure to Zika virus before birth can also cause other birth defects in infants such as eye defects, impaired growth, and hearing loss.
The CDC has offered preventive tips that can help pregnant women avoid bring infected with Zika.
- Avoid traveling to areas affected by Zika virus.
- Prevent exposure to mosquitoes.
- Practice safe sex.
- If you have traveled to an affected area during pregnancy, consult your doctor immediately.
Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer
If your child was born with birth injuries resulting from medical negligence, discuss your case with a Chicago birth injury lawyer. Call Willens Law Offices at (312) 957-4166 for a free consultation.