The media is whipping into a full-blown froth the link between the Zika Virus and a sudden flux of babies born with microcephaly. In reality, the link could be coincidental, with research being conducted now in Columbia and Brazil, looking at infection and exposure rates, actual cases, and the accuracy of reporting processes.
Whether there is a direct cause or an error in reporting numbers, Alzein Pediatrics wants to help you understand what microcephaly is and how it affects the children who are diagnosed with it.
What is microcephaly?
Microcephaly means a baby’s head and brain is smaller than it should be. The condition can range from mild to severe, depending upon how how smaller the brain and head are than in a typical infant.
What causes microcephaly?
Unfortunately, physicians cannot always pinpoint a cause of microcephaly. During pregnancy, contracting rubella or toxoplasmosis, experiencing severe malnutrition, and exposing the developing baby to alcohol, drugs or chemicals have all been indicated to cause microcephaly.
When is microcephaly diagnosed?
Microcephaly can be seen via ultrasound beginning late in the second trimester of pregnancy. It may also be diagnosed after birth when the newborn’s head is measured.
What does being diagnosed with microcephaly mean for a child?
There is no cure for this condition. Depending upon the severity, microcephaly causes developmental delays and intellectual disability, feeding problems, seizures, and hearing and vision problems. Treatment and care, such as speech, occupational and physical therapies, will be needed life-long to manage health problems and developmental challenges.
How many babies are born with microcephaly?
Gratefully, microcephaly in the United States is very rare. One baby in every 5,000 born is diagnosed with microcephaly. For comparison sake, one in every 691 babies is born with Down Syndrome.
Do you have other questions?
Just call Alzein Pediatrics at 708-424-7600 if you have any additional questions about microcephaly – or your child’s general health. You know we are always happy to help!