Tuesday March 26, 2019

Zika Virus May Cause Miscarriages, Stillbirths Without any Symptoms

Zika virus is widely known for causing children to be born with a brain abnormality called microencephaly and other malformations

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zika virus
Representational image. (IANS)

Pregnancy loss due to Zika infections that do not show any symptoms may be a common but unrecognised cause of miscarriages and stillbirths, raising concerns that the complications could be more common than currently thought, researchers say.

The findings showed that 26 per cent of non-human primates infected with Zika during early stages of pregnancy experienced miscarriage or stillbirth even though the animals showed few signs of infection.

“These rates of foetal losses and stillbirths in Zika-infected pregnant monkeys were about four-fold higher than what is normally seen in unexposed monkey populations at these research centers,” said Koen Van Rompay, scientist at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis).

“Many of the foetal and placental tissues had evidence of Zika virus replication and also had pathological lesions, which further supports the role of Zika virus in this detrimental outcome,” Rompay added.

Zika virus is widely known for causing children to be born with a brain abnormality called microencephaly and other malformations. Zika disease in human adults includes fever, rash, headache, joint and muscle pain, as well as red eyes; however, most are asymptomatic.

Zika
Representational image. Pixabay

“For pregnant women who live in areas where Zika virus is prevalent, and who may experience spontaneous abortions, the possible link to Zika virus infection may be missed,” said Lark Coffey, an arbovirologist at UC Davis.

“Our data in monkeys indicate more research is needed, so researchers can develop intervention strategies to protect pregnant women and their foetuses from Zika virus,” he noted in the paper published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Also Read: Study: Zika’s Effects on Newborns Persist Even in Adults

For the study, the data were aggregated from six National Primate Research Centers (NPRCs), where the team monitored pregnant rhesus macaques to follow the progress of Zika virus in the bodies and into their foetuses and the tissues that support foetal development.

The results showed that exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy was more likely to result in foetal death — a finding that parallels human reports.

Moreover, placental dysfunction, which is commonly presented in the form of increased placental calcification during ultrasound examinations may also affect the foetus development, the researchers said. (IANS)

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Lancet Study Considers Pregnancy Soon After Stillbirth Safe

However, "such nutritional depletion might not occur to the same extent after a pregnancy loss, and this may affect the optimal interpregnancy interval, explaining why it may be different after stillbirth and livebirth"

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Technology, Privacy
A model wears the Owlet Band pregnancy monitor at the Owlet booth at CES International, Jan. 9, 2019, in Las Vegas. The device can track fetal heart rate, kicks and contractions. VOA

Conceiving within a year of stillbirth is not associated with increased risk of pregnancy loss, preterm birth, or any other health risk to the baby, finds a new study, challenging previous recommendations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends women to wait for at least two years after a livebirth and at least six months after a miscarriage or induced abortion before conceiving again.

The study, published in The Lancet, showed that an interpregnancy interval of less than one year was not associated with increased risk of adverse birth outcomes in the next pregnancy, compared with an interval of at least two years.

This trend remained the same when adjusted for maternal age, number of previous births, and decade of delivery, the findings revealed.

“Our findings provide valuable evidence for recommended pregnancy spacing after a stillbirth,” said Annette Regan from Curtin University in Australia.

Pregnant Women
Lady with her baby. Pixabay

There is limited guidance available for planning future pregnancies after stillbirth, Regan said, adding, “we hope that our findings can provide reassurance to women who wish to become pregnant or unexpectedly become pregnant shortly after a stillbirth”.

For the study, the team included 14,452 births among mothers from Finland, Norway, and Australia, who had a stillbirth in their previous pregnancy.

The researchers noted that there is difference in optimal intervals following livebirth and stillbirth.

Also Read- Facebook, Apple, Twitter Face EU Probes For Violating GDPR

“Without sufficient time to recover from a previous pregnancy, women may be at increased risk of entering a reproductive cycle with poor nutritional status, which has been linked to increased risk of foetal growth restriction and birth defects,” Regan said.

However, “such nutritional depletion might not occur to the same extent after a pregnancy loss, and this may affect the optimal interpregnancy interval, explaining why it may be different after stillbirth and livebirth”, she said. (IANS)