1st zika microcephaly case

| November 2, 2016




T&T has recorded its first confirmed case of a microcephaly birth due to the Zika virus, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh announced yesterday and urged the public to respect the family’s need for privacy.

The infant girl, who was born on September 20, is reported to be “doing fine” and is at home with her parents.

The news came some eight months after the Zika virus was first diagnosed in T&T.

She was discharged one week ago from the San Fernando General Hospital where several tests and scans were done to determine if the birth defect could be as a result of the Zika virus.

The confirmation, which was made via a blood sample referred to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (Carpha) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), was received last Friday.

Deyalsingh said he then informed both the Prime Minister and the baby’s parents.

Speaking at a press conference at the Ministry of Health, Port-of-Spain, Deyalsingh said the delay in making the public announcement was due to a desire to preserve the family’s dignity and afford them the privacy to “digest” the news.

The baby was born at the Gulf View Medical Centre and was diagnosed with microcephaly.

The infant was later transferred to the San Fernando General Hospital and admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for treatment before being discharged into the care of her parents.

Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these babies often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly. Last month, the ministry confirmed four other cases in unborn babies with brain abnormalities which are being reviewed to determine if they were also linked to the Zika virus.

Deyalsingh yesterday reiterated that there were proper protocols in place to assist pregnant patients who may deliver babies born with microcephaly linked to the Zika virus.

Both Deyalsingh and specialist developmental behavioural paediatrician, Dr Natalie Dick, said it would vary depending on a case-by-case basis.

“We must tailor the treatment to suit the case,” he said, adding there was no-one-size-fits-all treatment method.

Dick said babies born with microcephaly due to Zika would require a thorough physical examination along with a brain scan, x-rays and other special tests related to hearing and sight as those senses could also be impaired

He said that the Ministry would be ramping up eradication exercises to eliminate breeding sites for the aedes aegypti mosquito, which tranmitted the Zika virus and other diseases, such as dengue, chikungunya and Yellow Fever.

Deyalsingh said of the 289 public health notices that have been handed out in the past several months, 263 households had complied with the warnings to clean up their premises. Medical officials says thousands of people have contracted the virus even though the official tests list close to 500 cases.

Source : www.guardian.co.tt/news/2016-10-31/health-minister-discloses-1st-microcephaly-case-zika #zika #health #Trinidad #featured

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