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Zika Linked Miscarriage In Trinidad and Tobago

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Zika didn’t cause woman’s miscarriage

 
Published: 
Thursday, April 7, 2016

The miscarriage by the 23-year-old woman who became this country's first Zika case to be diagnosed in pregnancy has not been attributed to the virus. It is believed the woman developed complications and suffered the miscarriage between Sunday night and Monday morning.

According to officials, the 13-week pregnant woman of Belmont was taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital after complaining of pains. Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh declined to provide an update on the matter as he cited the doctor/patient confidentiality clause.

When contacted, officials of the North West Regional Health Authority also declined to comment. 

Professor Terrence Seemungal, a member of the specialist medical team assembled by the Ministry of Health to formulate the guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of pregnant persons suffering with the virus, said there was still no concrete evidence directly linking microcephaly and Zika. Microcephaly is a medical condition where babies’ heads are abnormally small.

Seemungal admitted there seemed to be a lot of research internationally to "support this hypothesis." He said a recent international study had found that a greater number of babies born with the condition had occurred in persons who had contracted the Zika virus during pregnancy.

Even though Seemungal explained traces of the virus had been found in the foetal fluid around the babies, he was reluctant to pronounce a direct cause and effect link. 

"The cause and effect jury is still open on that issue," he added. Anticipating an increase in the number of local cases which now stands at nine,  following the onset of the rainy season in June, Seemungal believes the Health Minister acted proactively by declaring a national health emergency in January. He said efforts to clean the physical environment and introduce other measures, such as spraying and inspections, "were done in the right time."

Head of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies, Professor Bharat Bassaw, endorsed Seemungal's theory of the link between microcephaly and Zika. He said: "The evidence is getting stronger and stronger day-by-day."

Bassaw said while it was difficult to prove cause and effect, "the evidence is strong that there is a link between Zika and microcephaly but we do not have the concrete evidence needed to support that statement."

Revealing that regional experts were concerned about the virus and the potential threat to babies in the womb, Bassaw said all the UWI campuses across the region, along with many of the smaller islands, had assembled a high-powered team to address the issue as they too were expecting an increase in the number of cases in the Caribbean once the rainy season began and the mosquito population increased.

Asked to explain how the local procedure was done, Bassaw said once an expectant person presented had any of the symptoms, a blood test would be done to confirm the diagnosis. Once confirmed, he said the team would carefully monitor the foetus, via ultrasounds, which would be used to determine the growth of the baby's brain in relation to its abdomen.

He said scans would be done regularly in order to identify any other abnormalities, one of which was said to be calcium deposits in the brain, which was another sign of the infection.

Citizens have been urged to clean their homes and work spaces to eradicate mosquitoes as the virus is spread by the aedes aegypti mosquito, which also spreads the dengue fever and chikungunya viruses. The Zika symptoms include a rash, fever, generalised pains and conjunctivitis.

During last Friday's weekly media briefing at the Ministry of Health officials revealed that Zika cases have so far been recorded in Gulf View, Belmont, Laventille, Diego Martin, Tunapuna, La Resource and St Ann's. Spraying operations have so far been carried out at approximately 187,108 homes; 303 educational institutions and 614 government buildings.

http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2016-04-07/zika-didn’t-cause-woman’s-miscarriage

 

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