It would be nice if we could put the Zika virus behind us, but unfortunately the mosquito-borne disease is still relevant. New research is showing that women gave birth to a higher amount of babies with birth defects in areas of the US where the Zika virus hit the hardest. Florida and Texas saw the greatest spike in birth defects. Of course, these birth defects come as a result of Zika infected mothers.
The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recently issued a report claiming that southern Florida, parts of Texas, and Puerto Rico saw a twenty one percent increase in the rate of Zika related birth defects. Officials with the CDC looked into childbirths in 2016 in fifteen different states. They claimed that one out of every one thousand childbirths involved birth defects related to Zika. Half of these birth defects involved microcephaly, or the newborns neural tubes were malformed. Twenty two percent of babies born with Zika related defects possessed damaged nervous systems and nine percent had eye problems. In total, the CDC counted nearly three thousand births that involved zika related birth defects. Despite the researcher’s beliefs that many of the children were born with Zika related defects, none of the mothers counted in the study had medical files that mentioned the Zika virus. However, experts have long been aware that a large amount of Zika victims were never diagnosed as having the disease. According to the CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, infants born with Zika related birth defects need all of the help they can get and for as long as they need it. The recent CDC study has highlighted the importance of recording Zika related birth defects when they are observed. Experts say that 2017 data will also show a spike in Zika related birth defects since women who conceived in the latter half of the year will be giving birth in the next year.
Do you think public health officials need to try harder to diagnose patients with the Zika virus?
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