1 in 10 Zika-infected US moms have babies with birth defects, CDC reports
Summary: A new study from the CDC shows how women in their first trimester who contract Zika are more likely to have a child with birth defects. 15% of mothers with infections during the first trimester had children with birth defects in this study. A large issue with these infections is proper screening of children born to mothers with confirmed Zika infection. Over half of these babies don’t get any kind of brain scan to check for defects. The effects of Zika are not always physically noticeable. Children who have unnoticed birth defects due to Zika will not receive treatment and could have complications later in life.
Connections: We covered viruses such as zika in class. Zika replicates by using the lytic cycle. It uses its host’s ER to replicate itself (Siaz et al. figure 2). Zika is enveloped and has single stranded RNA (Siaz et al.). They have icosahedral symmetry.
Critical Analysis: The article written by CNN is very simple, it is meant for a very general audience and could be easily understood by someone with little to no background or interest in Microbiology. They did, however, include a link to the CDC study that brought about this article, which I found impressive because most news sources don’t seem to do this. In the video, a mother who contracted zika and her child was affected by zika are introduced. One thing I found interesting was the fact that there was no mention of the little girl being microcephaly, but rather that she had calcifications in her brain. I wasn’t aware that Zika could cause this. I thought that the virus attacked developing fetal nervous tissue, as this has been shown in animals (Nayak et al.). I wonder what in particular caused the calcification?
Question: Why are the mechanisms of Zika so hard to identify? Is it because it is a virus, or because it only seems to attack fetal nervous tissue, making it harder to study in humans?
1 Comment for “1 in 10 Zika-infected US moms have babies with birth defects, CDC reports.”
That is interesting that microcephaly wasn’t mentioned much especially since that is the main effect that the virus has on undeveloped children. Also since the article was simplified to be understandable to a broad audience, I wonder if certain concepts that were more difficult to understand were not included in the article. To answer your question from what I am seeing the mechanisms of Zika are so hard to identifiy due to a couple of reasons. First of all this is a pretty new virus and there is still so much that is unknown, also scientists are having a hard time studying how it affects the unborn child in the embryo. There is a study that believes that a change in the genetic material is what causes microcephaly in infants. Another reason for why the mechanisms are so hard to identify is because there can be such mild symptoms that the carrier of the disease may not even know that they have been infected. The last reason that I found was that the tests that are run to detect viruses are only effective with the Zika virus within the first week of symptoms appearing.