Monday, February 15, 2016

BRAZIL - Race to Resolve Zika Virus

"In Brazil, a race to solve the mysteries of Zika virus" PBS NewsHour 2/8/2016


SUMMARY:  In Brazil, health workers are searching for the smoking gun link between the virus and infant microcephaly, while troops attack mosquito breeding grounds and mothers of affected children face the long-term consequences. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Now to the growing effort to rein in the mosquito-borne Zika virus spreading through parts of South and Central America.  It is suspected of being the cause devastating birth defects in children who are born to women who become infected during pregnancy.

Our science correspondent, Miles O’Brien, has been reporting on developments from Brazil, which has been hard-hit by the virus.

Tonight, he looks at ways doctors and scientists are racing to get ahead of the outbreak.

MILES O’BRIEN (NewsHour):  It’s Carnival week in Brazil, the raucous run-up to Lent, when people take to the streets to party their worries away.  But this year, it’s harder to mask reality, as a frightening epidemic also marches through the nation.

DR. ADRIANA SCAVUZZI, Obstetrician, IMIP:  They come to us asking many questions, and we cannot say almost nothing with 100 percent sure.  What we have to do is to support them.  That’s all we have to do.

MILES O’BRIEN:  Dr. Adriana Scavuzzi is an obstetrician at one of the largest hospitals in Recife, the epicenter of a fast-moving outbreak of the Zika virus; a flavivirus virus in the same family as Yellow Fever, West Nile, and Dengue.

In each case, the virus hitchhikes on a tenacious day-biting mosquito called Aedes Aegypti that has origins in Africa and is now spreading throughout the globe.  Two-month-old Nicollas Pereira has an abnormally small head, microcephaly.

Doctors at this hospital would normally see 10 cases like this a year.  But starting in August, there were suddenly 10 to 20 a month.

Dr. Ana Van Der Linden is a pediatric neurologist.  She says Nicollas must contend with an array of permanent mental and physical problems.

DR. ANA VAN DER LINDEN, Pediatric Neurologist, IMIP (through interpreter):  With this impairment, we see that reflex reactions are good, but voluntary actions that depend on better brain development will be impaired.  He will have bad motor skills and mental development.  He can also have abnormal vision, hearing disorders, and bone malformation.

No comments: