Friday, October 7, 2016

Children After Birth Do Not Typically Get Seriously Ill from Zika

For parents all over the world who are worried about Zika virus, there is some good news: children who contract Zika after birth rarely become seriously ill. Since 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has followed 160 toddlers and teenagers who have had laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika. Although these children (age ranging from 1 month to 17 years old) were chosen for the study because they were symptomatic, most people who contract Zika do not present any symptoms at all. These children only developed mild illness, with 129 presenting a rash, half of them developing a fever, and a quarter showing reddened eyes. None of the children developed Guillain-Barre syndrome or other neurological complications.

Zika has become infamous for causing birth defects in fetuses, including brain damage, but no lasting injuries were found among this group of children. However, 5 of the teenagers were pregnant when contracting Zika. Sexually active teenagers should also be protected from the virus, and educated on the risks of Zika in pregnancy as well as sexual transmission of Zika.

-Anne Sommer

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