We spent quite a bit of time discussing Zika virus, for a while, it was everywhere. We talked, we watched news reports, we feared… and then just like that, it seemed to go away. However, for some people, Zika will be a part of their lives forever. For those people that transferred Zika to their child in the womb, fighting the effects is a daily challenge.
What happened to the babies of Zika?
Darah Giron Funes
Darah was the first baby born in the continental United States with the birth defects tied to the Zika virus. Darah has microcephaly. Her head is small. She is two-years-old and she is just learning to roll over and smile, milestones babies usually reach about three months. Yet it is these small triumphs that keep her parents hopeful. Darah’s parents are from Honduras and it is there that they contracted Zika. First her father, Christian, fell quite ill. Next, her mother, Claudia, became sick as well but not nearly so much. She had a rash that she thought maybe due to a new detergent. When diagnosed she refused antibiotics because she was afraid of the effects it could have on her unborn baby and she really didn’t feel that bad. But now we know that one of the ways Zika, a mosquito-borne illness, can be transferred is from a mother to her unborn child and this is where the effects of the illness are the most tragic.
Microcephaly, a birth defect that causes underdevelopment of the head and brain is one of these. Other birth defects include impaired vision, contracted fingers, infantile spasms, and overall underdevelopment. Darah was born in the United States while her mother was here visiting family. They returned home to Honduras but eventually, her family moved here so she could receive better care. Darah is in constant therapy with professionals and her mother. They spend hours a day focused on stimulating her senses in hopes of strengthening her development.
Sophia is one of 2,500 babies born in Brazil with brain damage due to the Zika virus. Sophia is fighting the same birth defects as Darah, but she is fighting in a poor and less understanding part of the world. Sophia’s mother spends hours on buses with her, traveling to the city for treatment and therapy. Children that don’t seem to respond to therapy can be dropped, while other infected children live on waiting lists just to get in. Money and resources are scarce and locals can be unkind about the child’s appearance. Officials are less hopeful of these children’s chances for development. Yet Sophia’s parents don’t give up. It is a constant fight.
The World Health Organization has lifted the state of emergency it called for due to Zika, but Zika and its effects remain across the globe. It is a lesson in how quickly an epidemic can occur and how far-reaching the effects can be. Because the children born to mothers with Zika are all so very young we still don’t truly know what is yet to happen. Researchers fear that children that don’t show developmental issues now still may in the future. There are literally years of the unknown ahead for those born to parents that carried Zika.
Zika hit very close to home in Florida. The fears were felt statewide. It is because of this that Mosquito Squad of Greater Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra urges you to stay ahead of mosquitoes and the diseases that they can carry. Start your professional mosquito treatment today. Our barrier treatment is extremely effective in allowing you to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle without the fear of what mosquitoes carry. Call us today to schedule your season of treatment.