New Zika Studies Reveal Invisible Damage to Babies

New Zika Studies Reveal Invisible Damage to BabiesNew Zika Studies Reveal Invisible Damage to Babies

Zika virus causes different types of brain damage in babies, not just microcephaly, according to two new reports.Brazilian researchers found as many as one in five babies born with brain damage caused by Zika had normal-sized heads. That means babies who may seem normal may in fact suffer from serious conditions that parents and doctors may not notice until they get older, reports NBC news.

The findings show that if a pregnant woman is infected with Zika, even if a baby is born with a normal-sized head, the child could have severe brain damage.

The study also confirms that many of the pregnant women whose babies were affected didn’t have the obvious symptoms of Zika, such as a rash. The virus is known to cause invisible infections in most people who catch it. But that’s bad news for pregnant women who may not know anything is amiss until their babies start showing symptoms as they grow.

And the study also found that even late in pregnancy, babies can suffer brain damage caused by Zika. In other words, there’s no stage of pregnancy that’s safe.

Dr. Cesar Victora of the Federal University of Pelotas in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, looked at 602 newborn babies suspected of having been affected by Zika.

“About one in five definite or probable cases had head circumferences in the normal range,” he said.

More than 7,000 suspected cases of Zika brain damage have been reported in Brazil, where Zika started spreading fast more than a year ago.