Connection Between Zika Virus and Birth Defects Confirmed
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ May 17, 2016
In December of 2015, the New York Times published an article on a rarely discussed or worried about virus, Zika, and its potential threat to the newborns of Brazil. To be sure, the article stated that, “a surge in the number of infants born with tiny brains” was “blamed on an epidemic of the Zika virus,” but that whether or not Zika was truly the cause of the birth defects, known as microcephaly, was unknown.
Now, the connection is clear: an article in the New York Times published in April of 2016 confirms that “there is no longer any doubt that Zika virus causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads or other severe brain defects.”
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Announce Causation
Director of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden, said that there is no doubt that Zika is one cause of microcephaly, and Dr. Bruce Aylward, who is the leading the World Health Organization’s (WHO) response to Zika was quoted as saying, “We feel it’s time to move from precautionary language to more forceful language to get people to take action.”
Zika Virus Feared to Worsen
In five months’ time, Zika has moved from a fairly concentrated area of Brazil to other countries in South and Central America, and a few hundred cases have even been reported in the United States. With the summer months approaching, fears about the virus are increasing; mosquitos love both heat and moisture.
Health officials are working hard to combat the spread of the virus. One major focus is to eliminate standing water, in which mosquitoes proliferate. Sources of standing water include swimming pool covers, pets’ water bowls, and more – if you have any standing water on your own property, you can help the mosquito problem by eliminating it.
Health officials are also reminding people to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites by using mosquito repellent, to cover up, and to avoid traveling to countries where the rates of Zika virus are highest. These warnings should be taken most seriously by pregnant women, who are at the highest risk of experiencing an adverse event – birth defects of their child – if they do contract the virus.
Despite the outbreak of the virus, a recent poll showed that about four out of every 10 Americans have heard little or nothing about the Zika threat. While Zika cases in the U.S. have all been the result of the infected person traveling to another country (mosquitos in the U.S. are not transmitting the virus), it is still important to be aware.
When Zika Leads to Birth Defects
The fact that unborn babies are the demographic most at risk of adverse events caused by Zika is unsettling. At the law firm of Cohen, Placitella, & Roth, P.C. we are committed to raising awareness about the dangerous virus. If you think that you may have a medical malpractice suit due to a Zika-related health concern, contact us today for a free case consultation.