Zika virus has been found in the brain tissue of babies with microcephaly or the first time as scientists edge closer to establishing a link between the disease and the birth defect.
Doctors in Slovenia found the whole genome of the mosquito-borne virus amid the post-mortem of a prematurely ended 32-week foetus, which had suspected microcephaly.
The 25-year-old mother, who requested a termination after a prognosis of severe brain disease in her baby, had lived and volunteered in Natal, northeast Brazil, before becoming pregnant. “This case shows severe fetal brain injury associated with ZIKV infection with vertical transmission,” said the report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
It said there was no trace of Zika in any other organs, suggesting the virus had a tendency to infect and attack nerve cells.
Meanwhile, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have found evidence of Zika in brain and placenta tissues in four babies in Brazil. Samples were tested from two babies who died at less than a day old, and two miscarried foetuses. Similarly, the virus was also only found in brain tissue.
There are warnings that instances of Zika-related microcephaly were more severe than previously seen cases of impaired brain and skull growth. Among the complications that have been noticed by doctors are problems with vision and blindness.
The University of Sao Paulo said it was monitoring 3,000 pregnant women as part of research into a link between Zika and microcephaly.
Brazil’s health ministry confirmed its third Zika-related death while China reported its first case of Zika yesterday.
The TelegraphFollow @gorkhapost
Urinary, respiratory tract infections may double stroke risk
NEW YORK — People who are suffering from urinary or respiratory tract infections may face nearly double the risk of heart attacks and strokes than obesity, researchers have warned.
The study — led by a researcher of Indian origin — found that if the frequency of these common infections causing hospitalisation continues for a longer period it may even lead to death.
Patients diagnosed with any one of these common infections were three times more likely to die than those without prior infection after developing heart disease, and almost twice as likely to die if they had a stroke.
“Our figures suggest that those who are admitted to hospital with a respiratory or urinary tract infection are 40 per cent more likely to suffer a subsequent heart attack, and 2.5 times more likely to have a stroke, than patients who have had no such infection, and are considerably less likely to survive from these conditions,” Rahul Potluri, researcher at Britain’s Aston University, said in a statement.
The effects of the common infections were of similar magnitude among the people suffering from diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol, researchers said.
“It is notable that infection appears to confer as much, if not more, of a risk for future heart disease and stroke as very well established risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes,” Potluri added.
Researchers conducted the study over 34,027 patients who had been admitted with a urinary or respiratory tract infection with an age and sex-matched control group without infection.
Factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, obesity and tobacco use, as well as medical conditions including excess cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease, heart failure and atrial fibrillation were also taken into account.Follow @gorkhapost
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