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Zika virus: first baby with microcephaly born in Europe

Zika virus: first baby with microcephaly born in Europe


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Zika virus in Europe: baby with skull malformation born in Barcelona
In Europe, a baby with the typical malformations was born for the first time after an infection with the Zika virus. According to the clinic, the child has an unusually small head circumference, his brain "probably won't work well". The mother had apparently been infected with the dangerous virus in Latin America.

First European baby with Zika virus malformations
Only a few weeks ago, experts had warned of a Zika virus epidemic around the Mediterranean. Now a baby has been born for the first time in Spain who suffers from malformations due to the Zika virus. The Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona announced on Monday that the baby had an unusually small head circumference, but was able to survive without further medical help after the Caesarean section birth. It was not disclosed whether the newborn was a boy or a girl. According to the information, the parents had known about the malformation since May, but decided against an abortion. The mother was said to be infected during a trip abroad that was said to lead to Latin America.

Child's Brain "Probably Not Working Well"
According to the website "kinderaerzte-im-netz.de" of the professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ), the head of the neonatology department of the hospital, Félix Castillo, told the news agency efe that it was the first case of a newborn with the Microcephaly caused by the Zika pathogen in Europe. The baby and mother are in good condition. According to Castillo, the child's brain "will probably not work well", so that it will be "dependent on care". However, the extent of the neurological damage cannot be predicted yet.

Adults are also at risk
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in Stockholm, three pregnancies in which the unborn child had Zika malformations were registered within the EU countries by the end of last week - one in Slovenia and two in Spain. The child in Slovenia had been aborted. According to the information, all pregnant women were infected while traveling. The Zika virus, which can cause cranial malformations in newborns (microcephaly), is obviously also a threat for adults. For example, French researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that the pathogen may not only damage children's brains.

Millions more people could become infected
The virus, which has spread so rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean since last year, could cause even more diseases. A team of researchers in the journal "Nature Microbiology" reported that 93.4 million people, including 1.65 million pregnant women, could be infected by the current epidemic. As the researchers from the United States, Great Britain and Sweden write, one to 13 percent of fetuses from infected women would develop so-called microcephaly or other complications in the particularly dangerous first weeks of pregnancy.

Concern for the Summer Olympics
Alex Perkins of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, said in a message that it meant tens of thousands of babies could be affected in Latin America and the Caribbean. The epidemic in Central and South America has also raised tremendous concerns about the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. According to media reports, several prominent athletes have already canceled their participation. The World Health Organization (WHO) made some health recommendations weeks ago regarding games and the virus. The experts advise pregnant women not to travel to affected regions, including Rio. In addition, expectant mothers should only have protected sex or refrain from having sex after their partners return from epidemic areas. "Safe sex" is recommended for all travelers anyway. You should also protect yourself from mosquito bites in the affected areas. (ad)

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