Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers Discuss Risks of Zika Virus
March 28, 2016
The Zika virus is becoming a health crisis in Latin America, as emerging evidence suggests a link between the virus and certain abnormalities in fetal brains. The virus, which is transmitted through contact with mosquitoes, has recently been spreading throughout Latin America, coinciding with a rash of birth defects in Brazil. Microcephaly is a condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads, usually indicating severe brain damage.
A recent case involving a Brazilian woman who contracted the disease during pregnancy was examined in the New England Journal of Medicine. The woman experienced Zika symptoms at the end of her first trimester while living in Brazil. The second trimester ultrasound appeared normal, but some abnormalities were revealed in the third trimester. The fetus had an unusually small brain that lacked neural folds. Researchers at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia were able to extract the Zika virus from the fetus’s brain and genetically sequence it; curiously, the virus was not found in any other organs.
Researchers Still Looking to Substantiate Link
Multiple other links have been found between the Zika virus and microcephaly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed in January that they had discovered the virus in the brains of two babies from Brazil who had died, as well as in two miscarried placentas. However, there is still much work to be done to establish conclusively whether there is a link between the Zika virus and microcephaly and identify that link.
So far much of the government’s advice involves avoiding areas where the Zika virus has been reported, particularly for pregnant women, but the CDC is putting a stronger emphasis on mosquito control. Some areas in the southern United States have populations of the mosquito that transmit the virus, and officials say local outbreaks in these areas are possible. Puerto Rico is also at risk for a localized outbreak.
Vaccine Critical to Protecting Unborn Babies
Finding a vaccine is crucial to protecting fetuses from contracting the disease. The Zika virus is a flash virus that typically disappears from the mother’s system within days, making it difficult to combat once the disease is contracted. In that short time, however, it is possible that the virus does irreparable damage to the fetus. Researchers are hopeful for an experimental vaccine within the year, but this will depend on a number of factors.
Birth defects can result from a number of circumstances, some of which are outside of a practitioner’s control. Doctors and nurses still have a responsibility to do everything in their power to anticipate birth complications and intervene to prevent devastating injury. If your child has suffered from a birth defect, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help determine if negligent behavior was a factor and hold that party accountable for their actions.
Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Galfand Berger Advocate for Victims of Birth Defects
Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Galfand Berger are committed to helping families get justice when a birth injury occurs. Our knowledgeable, professional legal team will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is at fault and get you the compensation you are entitled to for your pain and suffering. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Reading, and Bethlehem, we help families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online for a free consultation.