Study: An array of new severe congenital defects associated with the zika virus

An array of severe abnormalities of the fetus are detected in 29 percent of pregnant women infected with the zika virus, according to preliminary results of a study on the potential link between this virus and severe birth defects, published Friday in the journal New Englad Journal of Medicine.

The list of severe outcomes found in the study in which participated pregnant women from the Brazilian metropolis of Rio de Janeiro include fetal death, brain calcifications, insufliation of the placenta, with little or no amniotic fluid, fetal growth retardation and damage to the central nervous system, including and possible blindness.
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“These women are infected in the first or second quarter,” said Dr. Karin Nielsen Sajns, the leading author of the study which was conducted by scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Fiocruz Institute in Brazil on a sample of 88 pregnant women, of whom 72 were positive for the zika virus.

“We saw, too, problems in the last quarter as well, which surprised us,” Nielsen said, adding that there were two cases of fetal death in late pregnancy in which there were no signs of brain damage in the previous ultrasound.

“We found a strong relationship between zika virus and unfavorable outcomes of pregnancy who have not previously been noticed. Even if the fetus is not suitable, it seems that the virus damages the placenta, which can lead to fetal death, “concludes Dr. Nielsen.

Music cast virus associated with many cases of microkefaly on babies in Brazil, but still is not known much about it, or even whether it actually cause the occurrence of microkefaly.