The Zika Virus has had few enough outbreaks, until recently, that we don’t know as much about the virus as we would like to know. For this reason, the added research dollars and the increased study of Zika has created a steady flow of new information, yet to be confirmed. Given the fluidity of these discoveries, we will be staying on top of the latest, with the disclaimer that none of these findings have been studied thoroughly enough to be confirmed fact. With the spotlight being brought to Zika due to a link between the birth defect, microcephaly & the virus, we are bringing you the latest information in regards to pregnancy and Zika.
Zika Virus Linked To More Birth Defects
The New England Journal of Medicine published a new study that has found other pregnancy and fetal complications from Zika infection during pregnancy than just microcephaly. In a small study, they found pregnant women infected with Zika Virus to have higher incidents of fetal death, placental insufficiency, fetal growth restrictions and central nervous system injuries (such as lesions to the brain & spinal cord).
The study was conducted in an attempt to solidify the suspected relationship between microcephaly & Zika, but also to look for other clinical findings. It is rare for a virus infection to only cause one problem. The study included pregnant women infected by Zika and pregnant women not infected by Zika from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While the case study was small, the geographic proximity of the patients and their lack of pre-existing risk factors made them as close to a control group as they could gather.
Zika Study Results
While many more tests and studies need to be conducted, the preliminary findings of this study are something to be concerned about. Eighty-eight pregnant women were enrolled in the study. Seventy-two of which tested positive for Zika. Two of which miscarried in the first trimester. Forty-two of the pregnant women consented and partook in ultrasound studies. Of those, 29% (12 patients) resulted in abnormal results. All of the Zika-negative patients’ ultrasounds were normal. The abnormal results were as follows:
- 5 cases of intrauterine growth restriction
- 4 cases of cerebral calcification
- 2 cases had other central nervous system alterations
- 4 cases had abnormal arterial flow in the cerebral or umbilical arteries
- 2 cases had insufficient or no amniotic fluid
- 2 fetal deaths after 30 weeks gestation
- One of the fetal death cases also had other malformations including agenesis of the vermis, Blake’s pouch cyst, & a potential club foot, intrauterine growth restriction, cerebral calcifications & microcephaly
The results of this study are alarming, to say the least. And the results are real, as of the time the study was published (3/4/16) the Zika positive cases had resulted in 6 live births and 2 still births. The two live births with normal prenatal testing are doing well and measuring normal. While the other 4 have all confirmed the ultrasonic findings of fetal abnormalities.
As doctors and scientists continue to study the effects of Zika virus on pregnant women and their babies, we’ll keep you updated with the latest local and worldwide Zika news. As of now, Zika cases in the United States have been limited to travel-related cases. As the mosquito season approaches we will keep you apprised to the reality of Zika in the Fall River area. In the meantime, protect your family by signing up for our traditional barrier treatment to eliminate 85-90% of mosquitoes in your yard. Call today.