Huge Increase In Zika-Linked Births

PUBLISHED: 11:28 PM 26 Jan 2018
UPDATED: 11:30 PM 26 Jan 2018

CDC Report Reveals 1 In 1,000 Babies Born With Zika Defects

This virus is spreading rampantly to the next generation.

The new CDC report has some disturbing numbers.

The true extent of the damage caused by the Zika virus is just now being discovered. Areas in the U.S. that were hardest hit during the outbreaks are now reporting an increase in Zika-related birth defects.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a grim report. Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico all recorded a 21 percent rise in birth defects during the last few months of 2016.

About 3 out of every 1,000 births in the infected showed signs of a Zika-related defect. That’s an incredibly alarming number, health officials are terrified that a full-scale, mass outbreak might occur. Adults who contract the disease might walk away with nothing more than a sniffle yet the damage down to unborn fetuses is massive.

“We found that the Asian Zika virus evolved to use the mother’s immune system to infect and ultimately cause congenital disease,” Jae Jung, a professor and chair of the department of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, said.

Infected women often exhibit no symptoms. By the time their babies are born, it’s too late. The damage has been done.

TIME reports: “About half of those infants were born with microcephaly or brain abnormalities, 20% were born with neural tube defects or other early brain issues, 22% had nervous system damage and 9% had eye problems.”

Those children will need extra care for the rest of their lives. Most of them will never be able to hold a job. The Zika virus has affected their lives in a profound way.

CDC researchers aren’t sure if the defects are solely attributable to Zika or if there are other factors at play. Most of the mothers were never tested for the virus, despite living in a high-risk area.

“Babies with Zika-related birth defects need all the help they can get, as soon as possible and for as long as they need it,” said CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald in a statement. “This report highlights the critical importance of documenting birth defects possibly related to Zika and our need to maintain vigilance.”

The CDC expects a fresh round of Zika-related births to happen this year, and they’re already compiling information about 2017’s births.

The crisis is so severe that people are demanding a vaccine. An incurable disease that cripples children for life is like a bogeyman for parents.

The need for a drug is less compelling than the need for a vaccine,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health, said.

“Since Zika is an infection that in most people is usually gone within a few days, it may be tough to have a major impact with a drug as opposed to prevention, with a vaccine.”

So many children are infected that people are beginning to seriously question if Zika pregnancies should be terminated.

“The question of ‘Should I consider an abortion because of the potential effects on a baby from a variety of exposures’ is not new, but I think this outbreak is re-raising it,” Dr. Richard Beigi, the chief medical officer at Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said.

“Babies with microcephaly can cost up to $2 million to raise in the first few years of life—though many may not live that long.”

Pressuring a woman into having an abortion because her baby may be hard to care for is an awful thing to do. It would be much more effective to stress the importance of birth control for young, fertile women residing in high-risk areas. A woman who lives in an area with a high transmission rate should take extra care of her health if she plans to get pregnant.

It’s estimated that at least 40 million Americans travel to Zika-infected countries every year. Experts fear that such promiscuity will lead to higher rates of local transmission in American cities

“We want people to take action to get rid of the mosquito-breeding sites on their property to protect pregnant women as well as themselves,” said Dr. Lyle Petersen of the CDC.

Protect yourself by staying away from mosquitos. Don’t lounge outside and allow yourself to be eaten, make sure that your skin is covered and the doors leading to your home are closed. Preventing mosquito bites is far and away the best way to halt Zika’s spread.

“There used to be funding for localities to do mosquito control that is no longer available,” Dr. Megan Davies, state epidemiologist at the North Carolina department of health and human services, said.

That means it’s up to you. Protect yourself and spare the next generation from Zika-linked birth defects.