When the news got out that the Zika virus may be the cause of the birth defect known as microcephaly, Dr. Sergio Cortes and his team of doctors began an extension research project in order to develop a vaccine to prevent the spread of the illness. Dr. Cortes works for the Ministry of Health in Brazil. Cortes is the doctor in charge of the Ministry. The Zika virus isn’t a new disease, but it is new to Brazil. African nations have been dealing with the virus for the last 75 years. India has been reporting cases of the virus since the 1950s, and so Has Thailand.
The Zika cases in Africa and Asia didn’t result in an outbreak of microcephaly. In fact, countries that know about the virus say the symptoms, which are usually fever, headache rash and muscle ache, only last 3 to 7 days even in pregnant women. Those symptoms are the same symptoms reported by infected people in Brazil, but for some reason 404 cases of microcephaly have been reported in the Northeast area of Brazil. The Northeast is the same area where the Zika virus is spreading.
Dr. Cortes examine the mothers of the babies born with microcephaly and only 17 of them actually had the Zika virus. Dr. Cortes wrote about the Zika virus on his official website, and he thinks more research has to be done to determine the actual cause of the devastating birth defect. Babies born with microcephaly have small and unusual shaped heads, and most of them suffer brain damage. The lifespan of those babies is also cut short by the disease, according to Dr. Cortes.
There have been reports that the towns that reported the most Zika cases were towns where Pyriproxyfen, the chemical manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, was used to eradicate the mosquito population. Pyriproxyfen changes the genetic process of the mosquitoes and the malformation that develops either kills or disables them. Brazil started using Pyriproxyfen in 2014 and that may explain why so many cases of microcephaly are being reported now. Dr. Cortes thinks more research has to be done to prove the theory that the chemical used to kill mosquitoes is responsible for so many microcephaly cases.
For more information about Dr. Cortes and the Zika Virus visit the Cortes LinkedIn page. Dr. Cortes also has a Facebook page. More information is available there. People also Tweet Dr. Cortes their Zika Virus questions.