Microcephaly

Zika virus has certainly been in the news lately, especially since it has been diagnosed in several patients in the US.  Zika is a mosquito-borne viral illness that causes fever, pain and burning of the eyes.  It is a mild illness and has no specific treatment but the danger of Zika comes from the fact that pregnant women who have the disease have a higher incidence of having infants with birth defects, especially microcephaly.

I recently saw a young mother in the clinic with an infant who was developmentally delayed.  The mother was concerned because the one-year old child wasn’t yet standing by herself or walking.  When I examined her, it seemed that she most likely has a mild form of microcephaly.  The mother stated that she did have a fever while she was pregnant.  Whether that fever was Zika or not, we’ll never know.  But it is possible that the virus was responsible for infant’s birth defect.

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