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Shrunken Brains

VipraDialogues | February 27, 2016 | 620  Views
Shrunken Brains

Yet another disease has come up to haunt scientists and doctors around the world, and this is once again from a mosquito-borne virus, called Zika virus. According to the sources, hundreds of thousands may eventually get affected by the virus, and become a victim of the ‘shrunken brain’ disease.


Although at first instance the virus may seem to be unworthy of your attention as the symptoms areas common as headaches and joint pains, which too only 1 out of 5 affected adult may experience; it can be devastating if it affects a pregnant woman. The child thus born may be suffering from microcephaly or abnormally small head, with the brain growing at a slower than normal rate leading to impending issues like intellectual handicap, and slower overall development. It might even prove to be fatal in extreme cases.


The disease, which is believed to be originated in South America, according to local governments, may already have affected thousands of people across Columbia and Brazil. What’s even frightening is that if the spread is not checked and it follows the trend of other similar diseases, this number may soon go in multiples of hundreds.


In Brazil alone, the number of babies born with microcephaly since October last year, may be close to 4000 and counting. Noteworthy is the fact that this number was just 150 throughout 2014. The rate at which this virus is spreading is enough to send a chill down the spine of the entire world population. In fact, the US Centre for Disease Control has warned women not to travel to 14 countries, including Columbia and Brazil and others in South America, for the fear of getting infected by the virus.


Such is the widespread fear that the Columbian government has gone ahead and warned the ladies to delay getting pregnantfor another six to eight months, until the disease is brought under control. Although there is no record of any newborn suffering from the disease, almost 560 of the total 13500 infected people are pregnant women.

Columbian Health Minister, Alejandro Gaviria has gone on record to admit that his country is second onlyto Brazil, in Latin America to have the highest number of Zika virus infected people. He also advised the women of the country to avoid getting pregnant till about the end of July this year, which is about the time he expects it would take his government to check the disease spread.

Despite spending a huge amount on trying to diagnose the disease faster and developing vaccines and testing kits, the only fool-proof method known so far is to check the breeding of mosquitoes and avoid getting bitten.


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