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EXPOSURE TO ZIKA VIRUS MAY ALTER BRAIN AGE AS ‘CHILDREN GET OLDER’

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EXPOSURE TO ZIKA VIRUS MAY ALTER BRAIN AGE AS 'CHILDREN GET OLDER'

(CTN News) – Pediatric Research published a study that indicated that children who were exposed to the Zika virus while in the womb and did not develop birth defects or congenital Zika syndrome may still differ from children who were not exposed in some aspects of cognitive development, mood, and mobility compared to children who did not receive any exposure.

The results of this study suggest that as children grow older, they could require more care and supervision in order to prevent further infection caused by the Zika virus.

Sarah Mulkey, M.D., Ph.D., the study’s lead author, a prenatal-neonatal neurologist at Children’s National Hospital’s Prenatal Pediatrics Institute, believes there are still many unanswered questions regarding Zika’s long-term effects on children who are exposed to the virus in utero.

I would like to emphasize that these findings are another piece of the puzzle that provides insight into the long-term neurodevelopment of children who were exposed to the Zika virus during prenatal life. As these children grow older, further evaluation will be needed to determine exactly what needs to be done.”

It is becoming increasingly necessary to test these kids as they grow older. In the 2015–2017 outbreak of Zika virus, a large number of infants were infected while still in the womb.

However, they did not have CZS or other major neurological disorders that are associated with the disease. It remains unclear how these infants may affect their lives as they grow up.

Research conducted by Dr. Mulkey and colleagues in Sabanalarga, Colombia, compared the neurodevelopment of 70 children who were not exposed to Zika during pregnancy and who were the same age as the children in the study, with the neurodevelopment of 55 children who had been exposed to ZIKA VIRUS during pregnancy and were the same age as the children.

In order to carry out the evaluations, the period of time between December 2020 and February 2021 was chosen. Medical specialists assessed how well the kids were prepared for school and their motor skills (including manual dexterity, aiming, and catching), as well as their knowledge of colors, letters, numbers, and shapes.

It was requested that parents complete three questionnaires concerning their child’s mental health (memory, emotions, and self-control), behavioral and physical health (responsibility, mobility), as well as their own backgrounds and experiences as parents (including whether they felt distressed during the process).

The parents of Zika-victimized children reported that while their children did not show statistically significant changes in their cognitive function tests, they found that their children exhibited lower levels of mobility and responsibility when compared to their control counterparts.

The parents of 6 (11%) children who have been exposed to the Zika virus have also had mood issues as compared to the parents of 1 (%) control child who has not been introduced to the virus.

Parents who were exposed to Zika were also considerably more likely to indicate that they were in distress than those who were not.

According to professional testing, there were no significant differences between Zika-exposed children and control children when it came to their physical dexterity, such as their ability to grasp an item or place a coin through a slot, compared to control children. Children who were exposed to ZIKA VIRUS and those who were not had low school readiness scores.

It seems that the parents’ actions might have been affected by what they thought or how concerned they were about the growth and development of their child at the time, according to the authors.

There is a possibility that some of the discrepancies in the outcomes of the kids were a result of age and, therefore, developmental differences between the groups.

The authors of the article believe that even though children exposed to Zika are developing normally, they may require a little extra assistance when they enter school. This is because they get ready to enter the classroom.

What happens if you get the Zika virus?

Most people infected with the Zika virus have no signs and symptoms. Some people have mild fever, rash and muscle pain. In rare cases, the Zika virus may cause brain or nervous system complications, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, even in people who never show symptoms of infection.

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