The Zika virus is taking a heavy toll on Brazil and the other countries that have a Zika virus outbreak. Millions of people in Brazil have the virus and millions more don’t know they have it. The unknown factor related to Zika is spreading the virus at an unprecedented speed, and there is very little anyone can do to stop the outbreak. Brazilian Dr. Sergio Cortes has been involved in Zika virus research for the past 11 months. Dr. Cortes knows more about the symptoms and the complications than most doctors in Brazil. Dr. Cortes sat down with the online magazine R7.com and explained some of the complications that manifest once the initial symptoms disappear.
Dr. Cortes told R7.com that the number of microcephaly cases in Brazil has increased four thousand percent since the Zika virus outbreak. Microcephaly is the medical term used to describe underdeveloped brains and retarded skull growth in fetuses. More than 4,100 cases of microcephaly have been reported in the last eight months. Many of the women that give birth to microcephaly babies are left on their own in Brazil. The fathers are leaving because they don’t want ot be associated with a baby that has a small, odd shaped head and brain damage. Most of the men that are leaving these mothers live in poor neighborhoods. The men have little education and no money, according to a Dr. Cortes LinkedIn post. Many of these men have other children and they leave them with the mothers as well.
Marriages and agreed unions are breaking up because of the Zika virus, according to Dr. Cortes. But that is only one of the complications caused by the virus. On Facebook, Dr. Cortes said the autoimmune disorder known as Guillain-Barré syndrome is another concern. Cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome have also increased since the Zika virus outbreak. Dr. Sergio Cortes said Guillain-Barré syndrome is the name for the immune system attacking the nervous system. The internal attack cause temporary paralysis and breathing issues. Guillain-Barré syndrome is not fatal in most cases, but five in one hundred people could die from the disease.
There isn’t a cure for Guillain-Barré syndrome or microcephaly. Dr. Cortes sent a tweet that said even though the two diseases aren’t new, there isn’t a medical treatment that can stop the paralysis cause by Guillain-Barré syndrome or the brain damage caused by microcephaly. Medical laboratories in Brazil and France as well as other countries are working on a vaccine that can help prevent the spread of Zika, but that vaccine won’t stop fathers from leaving their children or women from having the painful duty of raising a baby that has special needs.