The Zika virus isolated in the year 1947 has resulted in several outbreaks. A global medical emergency was declared by the World Health Organization owing to severe outbreaks in different parts of the world. Zika virus infection results in a condition called microcephaly in infants. Microcephaly is characterized by a small head circumference in newborn babies. It also results in a severe damage to the nervous tissues in the brain. Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Karin Nielsen-Saines describes a whole lot of other complications associated with Zika virus infection. Clinical studies reveal that Zika virus infection raises the risk of miscarriages.
As per the reports printed in the New England Journal of Medicine, Zika virus infection could also lead to a poorly developed placenta, growth related complications, brain damage, a minimal amount of amniotic fluid, blindness and deafness. Karin Nielsen-Saines highlights the need for more clinical studies to confirm on the devastating outcomes of Zika virus infection. Owing to the widespread Zika virus infection in Brazil, more newborn babies were affected by microcephaly. It resulted in increased mortality rates and stillbirths. This led to a rush of clinical studies to explore the possible link between the Zika virus and the resulting consequences.
The first prospective study involved a comparison among a group of pregnant women who were infected with the virus with another group which was not infected. The ultrasound scan results of Zika-infected women depicted abnormalities in the fetus during pregnancy. Central nervous system abnormalities were noticed in common. The abnormalities found during ultrasound scan were confirmed as the babies were born. The group of women infected with Zika virus gave birth to babies with congenital abnormalities. The results were later confirmed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Thus, the manifold consequences of Zika virus infection in pregnant women are alarming.