Inside Brazil’s struggle to treat thousands of kids born with a Zika-linked syndrome

From Vice News
May 15, 2018

In the year since Brazil officially declared an end to the Zika outbreak, the aftermath has only just begun. An estimated 3,000 children have Congenital Zika Syndrome, the collection of neurological disorders that afflict the babies of mothers infected with Zika during pregnancy.

And Brazil is already struggling to treat them.

The most recognizable symptom of Congenital Zika Syndrome — and the first sign that this particular outbreak of Zika involved a new and unprecedentedly strong mutation of the virus — is microcephaly, or an abnormally small skull. Vanessa Van Der Linden, a pediatric neurologist who was among the first to see a link between Zika and microcephaly, says that’s now understood to be only one of many symptoms.

“The child with severe neurological damage possesses a spectrum of complications, which can be anything from impaired motor functions, eyesight, hearing problems, and arthrogryposis, which are deformities of the extremities,” Van Der Linden said. Another is epilepsy; some severely affected children have seizures every few minutes.

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