Wednesday June 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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1bn People Could be Exposed to Dengue, Zika by 2080

Dengue is the fastest growing mosquito-borne disease across the world today, causing nearly 400 million infections every year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO)

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Aedes
Dengue is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito that typically attacks during day time. Pixabay

Global warming could expose as many as a billion people to mosquito-borne diseases including dengue and Zika by 2080, says a new study that examined temperature changes on a monthly basis worldwide.

The study found that with the rise in temperature, dengue is expected to have a year-round transmission in the tropics and seasonal risks almost everywhere else. A greater intensity of infections is also predicted.

To understand, researchers from Georgetown University in the US looked at temperatures month by month to project the risks through 2050 and 2080.

While almost all of the world’s population could be exposed at some point in the next 50 years, places like Europe, North America, and high elevations in the tropics that used to be too cold for the viruses will face new diseases like dengue.

On the other hand, in areas with the worst climate increase, including west Africa and southeast Asia, serious reductions are expected for the Aedes albopictus mosquito, most noticeably in southeast Asia and west Africa, revealed the study, published in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Dengue vaccine.
A Manila Health officer shows off a pair of vials of the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia after being recalled from local government health centers Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. The World Health Organization says the first-ever vaccine for dengue needs to be dealt with in “a much safer way,” meaning that the shot should mostly be given to people who have previously been infected with the disease. VOA

Both Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes can carry dengue, chikunguyna and Zika viruses, as well as at least a dozen other emerging diseases.

“Climate change is the largest and most comprehensive threat to global health security,” said Colin J. Carlson, postdoctoral candidate in Georgetown University in the US.

“The risk of disease transmission is a serious problem, even over the next few decades,” Carlson added.

Also Read- Researchers Probing if Tobacco’s Native Forms Less Harmful

Dengue is the fastest growing mosquito-borne disease across the world today, causing nearly 400 million infections every year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The 2018 data from the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) and National Health Profile showed that cases of dengue increased 300 per cent — from less than 60,000 cases in 2009, it increased to 188,401 in 2017. (IANS)