Study Demonstrates How Zika Might Pose Threat to Pregnant Women

Drugs reports a new study revealing the harmful effects of Zika virus in pregnant monkeys, which might have correlation to the known linkage between Zika and diseases such as microcephaly. This new research shows that when a pregnant woman is infected by the virus, it attacks the placenta which then can lead to birth defects.

Zika is a virus that is obtained from a mosquito bite and can be very dangerous if not treated correctly. It can be passed along via blood, as well as sexual conduct from one human (or animal) to another. Many people infected don’t even show signs of the disease, yet it can be very dangerous and cause risk to the unborn child if they are pregnant.

Children could develop extreme neurological effects. It was also shown in the study that birth defects for baby monkeys include smaller head size, underdeveloped brains, and microcephaly.  The study was conducted by a doctor, obstetrician and gynecologist Antonio Frias from Oregon Health and Science University. He looked at five pregnant monkeys and studied the effects on their pregnancy.

They found that the virus causes inflammation in the placenta, which then results in less oxygen for the fetus. Less oxygen often results in major birth defects, frequently affecting the brain. When the placenta, which exists to protect the fetus is threatened, the baby is threatened.

Researchers are still unsure whether the results from the monkey study would have the saved effects on women and their babies. They do know the disease would most likely be passed along to the child, and they could face long-term effects of the disease.

Some experts made a point that it’s important to remember that there is research that shows no correlation between animal and human effects from the virus. Just because these birth effects were passed along to a baby monkey, doesn’t necessarily mean the same mechanism translates to a human baby. More research will be conducted.

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