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Zika-linked microcephaly detected in Yucatán for 1st time

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A baby with microcephaly was born in rural Yucatán after the mother was infected with Zika. Photo: Sipse

Mérida, Yucatán — The state’s first case of microcephaly associated with zika was confirmed by health authorities on Tuesday.

The baby was delivered last year in a rural Maxcanú hospital run by the Mexican Social Security Institute, which was unaware of the case.

Microcephaly is a rare neurological condition in which an infant’s head is significantly smaller than the heads of other children of the same age and sex. Sometimes detected at birth, microcephaly usually is the result of the brain developing abnormally in the womb or not growing as it should after birth.

Children with microcephaly often have developmental issues. No treatment exists for microcephaly, but speech and occupational therapies may help a child’s development and quality of life.

The mother’s zika infection, likely from a mosquito bite, occurred when the unnamed mother was in her second trimester of pregnancy. Zika is also transmitted through sexual contact.

As of April 2, 41 confirmed zika cases were recorded in Mexico. Travel restrictions based on zika fears were dropped by the World Health Organization in 2016.

The zika virus is a mosquito-borne infection that is transmitted by the same type of mosquito linked to dengue and chikungunya.

Cases have been identified in more than 20 countries in the Americas, including the United States.

One of the major concerns regarding zika is that its spread may be linked to birth defects such as microcephaly, prompting some countries to advise pregnant women against going to areas where zika has been detected.

Symptoms include mild fever, rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle or joint pain and a general feeling of illness that begins two to seven days after infection. Four out of five people who are infected show no symptoms.

Sources: Sipse, Journey Mexico, Mayo clinic

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