Two new studies from Brazil have discovered that the Zika virus poses a higher risk to adults than previously believed. It has been known for some time that the disease causes the birth defect microcephaly, which slows the development of the brain and skull in a fetus. However, the mechanism that caused this birth defect is imperfectly understood. These most recent studies give us the clearest picture yet of how Zika affects humans.
How Zika works
Until recently, evidence has suggested that Zika infection causes only temporary, mild symptoms in healthy people. Because of the rapid increase in the number of infections, however, new symptoms are popping up all the time. One study from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro found that Zika destroys developing nerve cells, while another from Restoration Hospital in Recife found that the virus prefers damaging or destroying brain and nerve tissue.
NBC News said of the studies, “Both add to the growing body of evidence that Zika virus, once virtually ignored as a rather harmless infection, is causing severe and sometimes deadly birth defects and other types of damage to victims of all ages. And because it’s spreading so fast among so many people, it’s adding up to thousands of victims.”
The results are being borne out by real life cases; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30 people have suffered a rare paralyzing condition known as Guillain-Barre after a Zika infection. Two more suffered a condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which is often mistaken for multiple sclerosis, and one more suffered meningoencephalitis (a swelling of the brain and its covering).
Avoid Zika at all costs
With the virus spreading rapidly, it’s more important than ever to know the risks and plan accordingly. Because the disease prefers brain and nerve tissue, infected people may face additional challenges recovering from brain or nerve damage. There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of infection at home, such as eliminating standing water, using insecticides and repellants, and keeping doorways closed off with screens. The CDC maintains a list of areas where Zika is prevalent and suggests delaying or altering travel plans.
If you have been infected with Zika, you and your loved ones are at higher risk of developing complications. Your doctor should know about these studies, but new information is constantly developing extremely rapidly. If your healthcare provider fails to stay abreast of new information, you or your loved ones may be exposed to unnecessary risk.
When a healthcare provider fails to maintain a proper standard of care, innocent victims suffer. If you or your loved have been a victim of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The experienced Nashville medical malpractice attorneys at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. Visit our offices in Nashville, Gallatin or Knoxville, call 615.246.5549 or contact us today for a free consultation.