A new Brazilian study indicates that Zika is hitting especially hard for lower-income groups, with infection rates exceeding 60%.
Zika is, of course, the virus that spread rampantly a few years ago and resulted in the birth defect, microcephaly. This rare neurological disorder is caused by a baby’s brain not having fully developed during pregnancy and the result is a smaller head size. To learn more about microcephaly, click here.
The Zika study was conducted with serosurveys for viruses in 910 people with microcephaly, non-microcephaly pregnancies, HIV-infected patients, tuberculosis (TB) patients, and university staff.
There was a total of nineteen mothers whose babies suffered from microcephaly in the study, and 18 of them tested positive for ZIKA.
“The high rate of ZIKA-positive mothers of microcephaly cases in our study substantiates the recent case-control study from Recife, Brazil, in identifying ZIKV as the cause of the surge in microcephaly cases in northeastern Brazil,” said the authors in the study.
Because TB is predominantly found in poor socioeconomic communities, especially in Salvador, the disease was used as a precedent in the study. The researchers were able to deduce that a large portion of TB patients in lower-income communities had Zika-specific antibodies in their system over university employees.
This was evidence that Zika, similar to other vector-borne viruses, was more common in lower-income areas.
The results from the study shared similarities with what was happening in French Polynesia’s Zika outbreak. The Zika seroprevalence in French Polynesia was a whopping 63.3% in 2016 for both men and women.
The team of miracle workers behind this study took on complex mathematical modeling to figure out that luckily, a Zika outbreak in the city was not likely to occur in the near future.
Their data concluded that high Zika infection rates in Brazilian communities began to slowly die down over time thanks to community protective immunity.
We can only hope that the virus never makes its ugly return.
Read more about the study on University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy here.