Microcephaly

Microcephaly is an abnormality in which the child has a lower head circumference than other children of the same age.
This is an anomaly in which a reduction in head circumference is observed, which is well below the population average for a given age and sex. Normally, newborns with a head circumference of less than 33 centimeters are included in this diagnosis.

Microcephaly can be present at birth ( congenital microcephaly ) or develop during the first few years of life ( postnatal microcephaly ). The child with the anomaly may have normal weight and length or have a body below average for their age. When only the skull is outside of normal patterns, microcephaly is called disproportionate. When, in addition to the skull, the length and weight are also below normal, we say that it is a proportional microcephaly.

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→ Causes of microcephaly

This occurs as a result of genetic problems as well as other external factors. Among the external or environmental factors that can trigger the disease, we can mention perinatal hypoxia (decreased oxygen supply to the fetus), exposure of the fetus to radiation, drug use, alcohol consumption, intrauterine malnutrition and diseases such as maternal phenylketonuria, rubella . , cytomegalovirus infection, toxoplasmosis , among others.

→ Effects of microcephaly for the baby

This affects the normal development of the brain, but the severity is related to the cause of the abnormality. Some children will have normal intelligence; others, however, may have mental retardation and developmental delay. It is estimated that 90% of microcephaly cases cause some degree of delay . In addition, some affected children may have problems such as motor complications, speech difficulties and seizures.

→ State of emergency in public health in 2015

In November 2015, Brazil declared a State of Emergency in Public Health after the diagnosis of 141 cases of microcephaly in Pernambuco in less than a year. These numbers are 10 times higher than those recorded in the previous year.

The Ministry of Health, after several analyses, found that there is a direct relationship between  Zika  and the development of microcephaly. This theory was raised because some of the mothers reported the appearance of spots on the body, itching and fever during pregnancy, symptoms that suggested the Zika virus infection. After the discovery, it was recommended that pregnant women take extra care and protect themselves from the Aedes aegypti mosquito,  using repellents and long-sleeved clothing and pants.

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