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microcephaly •

Often the small head is the least of concerns for children that suffer from microcephaly.

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Carolina Caceres, a 24 years old Brazilian journalist sent an essay to the BBC telling them what living with microcephaly really is all about. The young woman is a rare success case among thousands of Zika affected babies that in time lose the ability to speak and walk until entering in a vegetative state right up until death.

Carolina Caceres, the Zika survivor has managed to attend the Journalism University, to keep a blog and even write a book. But she wasn’t just extremely lucky. The young girl had to go through five serious medical interventions, 12 years of intensive medication, continuous breathing problems and seizures. But she fought valiantly along the way and now she is quite a successful person.

The problem with microcephaly is that the biggest concern is not, contrary to popular belief, the small head, but other complications of the disease who may or may not occur. It all depends on the luck of the mother and the child. In most cases the significantly smaller head is just a problem of aesthetics that does not pose the same dangers as the other symptoms of the disease.

But, unfortunately, only an average of 15 percent out of the total of infected children turn out to not be affected intellectual disabilities. Caceres was among those lucky 15 percent. But that is only a very small number compared to the thousands that were born in the current epidemic.

According to the official declarations of Brazil’s spokespersons, the current outbreak of the Zika virus is much more violent, and the majority of the babies that were born infected with it have increased chances of growing up with mental disabilities, very serious motor and speech problems and other such medical complications that will require constant and costly care.

WHO still thinks that the link between all of the microcephaly born babies and the Zika virus is strong, but not one hundred percent sure. The organization is reticent in blaming the virus because the exact ways in which it produces microcephaly is not yet determined.

A study conducted in 2014 on a similar virus determined that it affects the baby on the stem cells levels. It seems that during the early development stages of the brain, the virus intervenes and causes the development of microcephaly. But the study was not focused on the Zika virus, but on a similar one, so WHO will still not link the two officially.

Among the babies that were born this year with a Zika virus infection is the son of Marilia Lima. The baby boy, which is now three months old has a small head and problems in his leg and arm bones, hips and eyes. He also breathes with difficulty, the mother being afraid of waking up in the morning and finding the little boy dead.

Living with microcephaly is not easy, and taking into account the violence of the latest outbreak it seems that in a lot of the cases it is not even possible.

The authorities urge the women in Latin America to try and not get pregnant until the virus is eradicated. Officials started spraying the neighborhoods and giving out insect repellent to thousands of pregnant women. Abortion is illegal in all of the Latin American countries.

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