Pregnant women in Brazil live fear the Zika virus, now that the virus is positively linked to microcephaly, a birth defect characterized by severe brain damage. An National Public Radio Goats and Soda’s article tells the story of Marilia Lima, whose son was born with microcephaly, after she contracted the Zika virus while she was pregnant. Marilia says that the Brazilian government needs to do more for babies born with microcephaly; they require constant care, probably for the rest of their lives. The State Health Secretary of Rio Grande do Norte, the state where Marilia Lima resides, admits that the hospitals are not equipped to deal with an influx of infants with severe brain damage.
Families are overwhelmed as well, points out Marilia Lima, between caring for a baby with severe brain damage and finding rehabilitative services for their child. Unfortunately, the physical and mental damage from microcephaly is irreversible. It’s vital that pregnant women are kept informed about the latest Zika virus news. Dr. Sergio Cortes of sergiocortesofficial is working on that, he uses Twitter to keep the public up-to-date on Zika research. He also mentions in one of his tweets that some pregnant women may not be aware that they have contracted the Zika virus; therefore, they should seek medical attention even for very mild flu-like symptoms.
There’s no Zika vaccine or antidote, therefore pregnant women must avoid mosquitoes to escape contracting the virus. DINO reports that Dr. Sergio Cortes is hopeful that work done at the Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo will produce a vaccine with 80 percent effectiveness again Zika and similar viruses. The doctor’s LinkedIn profile shows his extensive experience in public health matters, therefore, Dr. Cortes is frequently quoted in news about the Zika virus. Crunchbase lists Dr Cortes as executive director of Rede D’Or, a large hospital operator, and former Secretary of Health in Rio de Janeiro; the people of Brazil trust him to help keep them safe from the effects of the Zika virus.
According to the doctor’s blog, mosquito nets in the home are essential for pregnant women, as is mosquito repellant when they go outside. Dr. Cortes also warns pregnant women to avoid going near any stagnant water and to stay inside, if possible, when mosquitoes are likely to be out. He also urges the families of pregnant women to educate their neighbors and friends about how to avoid attracting mosquitoes by removing anything from their yards that will hold water, including old tires. While the Brazilian government is working to eradicate the mosquito, avoidance is currently the only option available.