Description: Have you heard about the Zika virus? You may have run across a reference to it as a new concern for travelers and aid to countries like Brazil. However, have you heard about the possibility that exposure to this virus might be linked to increased rates of microcephaly in babies born in these regions? With the articles linked below and think about the implications of these possible connections for understanding of the potential teratogenic effects and issues.
Source: Possible association between music virus infection and microcephaly.
Date: January 29, 2016
Photo Credit: National Post
Center for Disease Control Update: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6503e2.htm
Any discussion of the prenatal effects on fetal development will at some point focus upon the potential impacts of the astonishingly large array of teratogens. The list of potential teratogens continues to increase partly as we discover new influences and, unfortunately, as new teratogens emerge. The zika virus, which is passed from human to human through mosquito intermediaries is one of these newer influences. While the World Health Organization is currently convening an investigation into the relationship between this virus and the rates of microcephaly (infants born with abnormally small heads and the potential for neurologic abnormalities) in countries such as Brazil and in areas that are already affected by another mosquito borne pathogen called dengue fever. Currently there is no known treatment or immunization available against the sink a virus consequently government actions have focused upon finding ways to limit exposure to mosquitoes and to reduce mosquito population.
Questions for Discussion:
- What do these articles suggest might be the role played by physical virus in the rates of microcephaly amongst infants born within Brazil recently?
- What factors might we need to consider in trying to understand the specific ways in which physical virus produces its possible teratogenic effects?
- What policies and practices and interventions might be considered in trying to deal with the impact of this possible connection between the Zika virus and microcephaly?
References (Read Further):
Schuler-Faccini, L. (2016). Possible Association Between Zika Virus Infection and Microcephaly—Brazil, 2015. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6503e2.htm
Tetro, J. A. (2016). Zika and microcephaly: causation, correlation, or coincidence?. Microbes and Infection.
Schuler-Faccini, L. (2016). Possible Association Between Zika Virus Infection and Microcephaly—Brazil, 2015. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6503e2er.htm
Petersen, E. E. (2016). Interim Guidelines for Pregnant Women During a Zika Virus Outbreak—United States, 2016. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6502e1.htm