Babies affected by Zika prone to eye damage: Research

According to a report in BBC, it is not clear is whether eye problems might be a complication of this rather than the Zika infection itself. Either is possible.

Zee Media Bureau/Udita Madan

New Delhi: The Zika virus – or epidemic, as one might say – has been a cause of increasing concern for the entire world.

The virus, carried by aedes aegypti vectors, has been affecting people living in and around at least 20 regions of the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, as of 2016.

The biggest concern related to the virus is how it affects expecting mothers. It causes multiple problems, especially when it affects the baby as well, most notably, a brain defect called microcephaly in the baby.

Now, researchers at Stanford University have found another matter of concern related to the illness, when they found abnormal bleeding and lesions in the eyes of three infant boys whose mothers had caught Zika while pregnant.

They have, therefore, raised an alarm that calls for eye checks for all babies who have been affected by Zika.

According to a report in BBC, it is not clear is whether eye problems might be a complication of this rather than the Zika infection itself. Either is possible.

Furthermore, the eye damage they found in the baby boys was to the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye, called the retina.

There was abnormal blood vessel growth, bleeding and torpedo-shaped lesions.

Since Zika has no confirmed vaccine or treatment, pregnant women have been advised to cover up to protect themselves against the mosquitoes that carry the virus.

Due to an outbreak which started in Brazil in 2015, the World Health Organization declared it a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in February 2016.

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