Officials Confirm Zika Causes Severe Birth Defects

By Bri Ziganti

Director of the CDC, Tom Frieden, has officially confirmed that Zika causes severe birth defects in unborn fetuses.  While many studies have shown a link between contracting Zika while pregnant and birthing a child with microcephaly, it wasn’t proven completely until enough evidence had been collected.  After scientists found signs of the Zika virus in the brains, spinal fluids, and amniotic fluids of microcephaly babies, and conducted research that followed 88 symptomatic women throughout their pregnancies, medical professionals are now sure that Zika is a direct cause of devastating birth defects that have been spreading largely unchecked across South America.

Unfortunately, it has also been confirmed that Zika’s affects can be severe no matter what stage of pregnancy it’s contracted in.  Cerebral malformations were identified in fetuses from 8-27 weeks of development, a worryingly wide range of time for exposed fetuses to be in jeopardy.

Why are Officials Announcing that Zika Causes Severe Birth Defects?

officials confirm that zika causes severe birth defects

The World Health Organization approves of the swift announcement.  “We feel it’s time to move from precautionary language to more forceful language to get people to take action,” said Dr Bruce Aylward, leader of the WHO’s Zika response team.

Besides microcephaly, Zika has been shown to cause other serious defects such as low amniotic fluids and the breakdown of brain tissue, brain swelling, and a build-up of calcium in the developing brain.  Some fetuses even died within the womb during their third trimester.

Because the Zika virus attacks neural stem cells, it prevents the central nervous system and the brain from developing properly, considerably reducing the child’s possible quality of life after birth.  Needless to say, this bleak outlook is why the risk of infection for pregnant women is so feared.

“It looks like Zika is inhibiting development of the brain, not just [associated with] small head size, and it’s associated with stillbirths,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said.  He continued:

“That’s why I called it the virus from hell, because it really is something terribly evil happening that’s blocking the brain of the unborn baby.”

Officials believe that making a definitive stance on the dangers Zika poses is currently the best possible weapon against further infections, as it’s predicted that Zika outbreaks will only worsen as summertime (and mosquito breeding season) draws near.

You can read the official research on “Zika Causes Severe Birth Defects” in The New England Journal of Medicine here.

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