The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recently released a report showing an uptick in Zika activity. Worse yet, many pregnant women infected with the Zika virus may not have known it. They are warning that a number of pregnant women were not effectively tested for the virus by their healthcare provider.
The Zika virus can be contracted while travelling and sexually transmitted. This is especially true for people who are in sexual contact with travelers from Venezuela, where the virus is originally transmitted by mosquitoes. The virus can harm unborn children, whose mothers unknowingly carry the virus through pregnancy.
Birth defects due to Zika include central nervous system dysfunction, brain abnormalities, microcephaly and eye abnormalities. Microcephaly occurs when a child’s head is much smaller than normal. In some rare cases, the virus can cause death of the infant.
Many infected mothers fell under the radar
The CDC’s recent report indicates that the issue may be more prevalent that the government realized. Many infected mothers were potentially missed either because they were not tested for the virus at the right time or they were never tested at all. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that Zika typically does not produce symptoms in infected people. A mother may never know she has contracted the virus before being tested.
The CDC report shows that three out of every 1,000 babies born in the areas researched by the CDC (including California) had birth defects likely caused by the Zika virus. According to the California Department of Public Health, 169 pregnant women were found to be infected with the virus in California. From those mothers, 10 babies had detections of Zika and were born with issues such as microcephaly, brain damage, brain abnormalities, abnormal eye development, nervous system problems, inflexible joints and other issues such as hearing loss.
The CDC noted that cases have been declining over the past two years. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles County health department has found the first confirmed Zika case in 2018. Expecting parents in California should talk to their doctors about testing for Zika. Parents with infants who suffer any of the birth defects discussed above should contact an attorney. They may be dealing with life-changing issues due to a delayed diagnosis of the virus.