Every expectant mother is riddled with concerns regarding the health of her unborn child. Her greatest fear is that something might happen that would affect the developing fetus in utero that could result in complications during labor or in long-term birth defects.
In the tragic case of Marilia Lima; civil servant, sociologist and lawyer from Brazil, these fears have become a grim reality after the birth of her son Arthur.
Suffering from microcephaly, a disorder that has been connected to the little-known Zika Virus, Arthur was born with a small head and severe brain damage. He is continually fretful, difficult to placate and is riddled with health problems ranging from his eyesight to the use of of limbs and he is unable to properly nurse.
In an interview with Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, contributor for National Public Radio, Lima says, “It’s still something that doesn’t feel real to me yet, but I am at the point where I can’t think. I just have to act. I have to take care of him, look after all his needs.”
Even more unfortunate, Arthur is only one out of an estimated 3,500 other children that have been diagnosed with microcephaly since May of 2015.
Due to the recent epidemic of Dengue and negligence on the part of several health officials, Zika has been allowed to spread rapidly presenting an alarming concern to citizens of Brazil and more than a dozen other countries. This is why Dr. Sergio Cortes, CMO Chief Medical Officer Executive Director of Rede D’Or São Luiz, is working to educate and inform people as to how to properly differentiate between the viruses.
Thanks to Dr. Sergio Cortes’ findings that have been reported on this Dino.com.br article it has been discovered that the Aedes Aegypti, or yellow fever mosquito, is not only a transmitter for Dengue but also the Zika and Chikungunya viruses.
Although the symptoms of the diseases are very similar there are some distinct differences that Dr. Sergio Cortes believes can discern between each disease. He has determined that high fever, body aches, and splotchy red spots on the skin are common symptoms but muscle soreness and pain behind the eyes seem to be exclusive markings of Dengue; while itchy, red eyes are characteristics of the Zika Virus and joint pains are signs of Chikungunya.
While there is not any vaccine or known treatment for the Zika Virus, an antidote is being developed by the Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo to combat the disease. Currently it is in the second stage of research but Dr. Sergio Cortes reports that the drug is expected to pass to the third stage to be manufactured on an industrial scale soon. Dr. Sergio Cortes can be followed on LinkedIn and Twitter and reports his research on his website.