Zika and Microcephaly: How Doctors Made the Link

pregnant 2The initial ultrasound scans of pregnant women in Brazil showed that the fetuses had enlarged and deformed inner chamber of the brain and calcifications appearing like bright spots. According to Adriana Melo, MD, PhD, an obstetrician and fetal medicine specialist, the enlarged inner brain chambers indicated a genetic problem whereas the calcifications pointed to an infection.

The Zika virus is neurotropic meaning that it infects the nervous system. Samples of the pale amniotic fluid drawn from around fetus showing signs of microcephaly contained the Zika virus. How the Zika virus gets to brain of the fetus is not well known and will require long term studies. However, pregnant women are advised to protect themselves against mosquitoes to reduce the chances of getting the zika virus.

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