US News: A Virus Even More Dangerous Than Zika to Pregnant Women - PressFrom - United Kingdom

US NewsA Virus Even More Dangerous Than Zika to Pregnant Women

04:55  08 january  2019
04:55  08 january  2019 Source:

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All pregnant women who have been to these regions should be tested for the infection, health officials have said, and should refrain from unprotected The Zika virus has been linked to unusually small heads and brain damage in newborns — called microcephaly — in children born to infected mothers

The Zika virus could be more dangerous in pregnant women than first feared, Brazilian scientists have warned. Experts now say that Zika could affect babies in 20 per cent of pregnancies where the mother has the virus . 'But if we consider a range of other possible neurological conditions, that figure

A Virus Even More Dangerous Than Zika to Pregnant Women © Simon Maina/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images A blood sample taken by a veterinary worker from a sheep in Naivasha, Kenya. Rift Valley fever can pass from livestock to humans.

The mosquito-borne virus that causes Rift Valley fever may severely injure human fetuses if contracted by mothers during pregnancy, according to new research.

In a study published last month in the journal Science Advances, researchers used infected rats and human fetal tissue to discover how the virus targets the placenta. Results showed that the virus may be even more damaging to fetuses than the Zika virus, which set off a global crisis in 2015 and left thousands of babies in Central America and South America with severe birth defects.

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Zika Virus : Everything Pregnant Women Should Know. This mosquito-borne illness can threaten your unborn If you're pregnant —or trying to conceive—the Zika virus is probably a top-of-mind concern, and It’s important to note transmission can take place even if an infected person is not symptomatic.

Many people don't even show any symptoms. But Zika virus can be dangerous to pregnant women 's babies. In other words, if you traveled to or live in a Zika -infected area, you might not become sick until after you return home or some time has passed after you were bitten by a virus -carrying mosquito.

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“Zika caught everybody by surprise,” said Amy Hartman, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Pittsburgh, who led the research. “If doctors had known about Zika’s birth effects, they could have done a lot more to protect pregnant women and babies. With Rift Valley fever, we’re trying to get ahead of the curve.”

Rift Valley fever primarily occurs in livestock in sub-Saharan Africa, where outbreaks cause 90 to 100 percent of pregnant cows in a herd to miscarry or deliver stillborn calves, often a significant economic loss.

But hundreds of cases also occur in humans each year, causing flulike symptoms and severe liver problems. The outbreaks have moved beyond Africa: In late 2000, an outbreak in Saudi Arabia infected more than 100,000 people and led to at least 700 deaths, according to Dr. Hartman. The mosquito that carries the disease is also found in Europe and the Americas.

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Zika : Dangerous Even If You're Not Pregnant . Zika -infected mosquitoes transmit the disease. People traveling outside the U.S. have brought in most In fact, Zika is so new that Norman is more concerned about what is not known about the virus 's health threats than what scientists already know.

Total of more than 31,500 cases places country second only to Brazil in severity of outbreak.

“Climate change can alter how emerging infectious diseases will spread,” Dr. Harman said. “As mosquito populations move and change, we have a potential for this to spread far beyond its normal boundaries.”

There are no vaccines or treatments for Rift Valley fever. The World Health Organization has called the disease a potential public heath emergency.

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Two cases of infected fetuses have been documented. One infant was born with an enlarged liver and spleen, among other symptoms; the other died within a week. Because the disease can be asymptomatic in pregnant women, many more cases of abnormalities and stillbirths may have been misidentified.

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The Zika virus may be even more dangerous than previously thought, affecting the babies of up to 20% of pregnant women who contract it, scientists in Brazil Most doctors and medical researchers now agree that there is a link between the Zika virus and microcephaly, where babies are born with

The CDC says Zika virus is worse than we originally thought, thanks to new research. According to a new study, Zika virus has been linked to yet another serious side effect: the autoimmune disorder So even though the U.S. mosquito population hasn’t been infected yet, we could be hit hard if it does.

Among rats used in the study, 65 percent of the pups born to infected mothers died, compared to 25 percent of pups born from uninfected controls. Each infected mother lost at least one pup, and all of the infected mothers’ offspring contracted the virus.

Pregnant rats were also more susceptible to death from Rift Valley fever than nonpregnant rats.

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Most surprising to researchers, the infected mothers’ placentas harbored more virus than any other tissue in the body — more than even the liver, where the virus’ damage is typically observed.

“No one in the field recognized this before,” said Cynthia McMillen, a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Hartman’s lab, and one of the study’s lead authors.

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Testing on human placental tissue revealed that, unlike the Zika virus, Rift Valley fever virus has a unique ability to infect a specialized layer of cells that supports the region of the placenta where nutrients flow in.

Zika must take the “side roads” into the placenta to infect a fetus, while the Rift Valley fever virus can take the “expressway,” Dr. Hartman said.

“The fetus is protected from hundreds of thousands of dangers that could affect it,” she added. “Only a few microbes can get past, and this is one of them.”

Last week, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations launched a call for proposals to develop human vaccines against Rift Valley fever. About $48 million will finance up to eight projects on Rift Valley fever and Chikungunya viruses, according to an announcement.

“We need more research into the epidemiology — how it causes disease, and how to prevent it,” Dr. McMillen said. “This could spread beyond where it is found in the Middle East, so awareness is sorely needed.”

Follow Emily Baumgaertner on Twitter: @Emily_Baum

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