The new fears surrounding the mosquito-borne virus stem from a Brazilian baby who was born with brain damage caused by Zika. The infant stayed infected with the virus for more than two months after he was born, doctors said, according to NBC.
The Brazilian child was born with brain damage from the virus – from which he was infected during his mother’s 26th week of pregnancy – but also continued to be actively affected months into his life, Danielle Oliveira of the University of Sao Paulo and colleagues said in the New England Journal of Medicine, reported NBC.
Blood, urine and saliva samples were tested two months after the infant’s birth, and showed positive for Zika. The baby’s blood still had evidence of the virus, itself, two weeks later, NBC said. It wasn’t until seven months after the child was born that the blood was clear. Still, the baby is developmentally delayed, and has cerebral palsy.
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The new case indicates that Zika could cause lasting infections in newborns, which means that the virus could potentially continue to attack the brain and other tissue long after birth, said NBC.
As previously reported, pregnant women who live in (or have traveled to) areas with heavy Zika infestation are at the highest risk for the virus, as it can be transmitted to fetuses through amniotic fluid.
Last week, five cases of the virus were confirmed in Florida by Gov. Rick Scott. The local infections happened in Miami Beach, Scott said.
Amid the alarming spread stateside, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also announced increasing cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare paralyzing condition they think will be seen in about every 5,000-10,000 infections like Zika.