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Birth Defects Caused by Zika Virus

Atlanta birth injury lawyerPrevention of birth defects caused by exposure to the Zika virus is still being investigated by health experts, so it’s little wonder that families in Georgia may not be aware of the facts or their legal rights.

How The Zika Virus Affects Newborns

Exposure to the Zika virus in utero can cause the following birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Severe microcephaly. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly or they may suffer from brain damage.
  • Vision problems due to damage to the eyes or the part of the brain responsible for vision.
  • Joints with limited range of motion, including clubfoot.
  • Too much muscle tone that restricts body movement soon after birth.

In more practical terms, a recent study in Brazil found Zika-infected babies age 19 to 24 months exhibited challenges sitting independently, feeding and sleeping. The babies also suffered from seizures and hearing and vision problems.  Others have suffered from brain issues regarding processing speed, executive functioning, and working memory.

Early intervention by medical professionals is key

The key to protecting at-risk babies, according to experts, is early detection and treatment. That means screening for signs of congenital Zika syndrome by one month of age, as well as additional evaluations until 24 months, according to CDC. Others have called for extended care while citing the urgent need for additional study.

“A number of different injuries that we can see can either be compensated for somewhat or develop in new respects over time,” Kristina Adams Waldorf, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and global health at the University of Washington, told Infectious Diseases in Children. “We recommend that children who are exposed to Zika virus either in utero or very early childhood be frequently assessed by a developmental specialist not only through the first two years of life but also on a regular basis up to adolescence.”

With so much at stake,  It is critical that mothers and their babies who are at risk from Zika receive proper medical care, both during pregnancy and after birth. Unfortunately, not all health care professionals in Georgia are up to date with the latest Zika protocols. They may lack the proficiency, or in some cases the competence, to diagnose and treat infected babies. Insurance companies can present additional roadblocks that families find impossible to work around as they seek the best for their unborn children.

If you or your family has encountered issues that have caused harm, you are bearing a tremendous emotional burden. You also may be dealing with major financial pressures as you pursue what is best for your loved one. What you need on your side is a compassionate advocate like the birth injury lawyers at Tyrone Law Firm, P.C. Our practice is dedicated to helping families deal with serious birth injuries in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

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Tyrone Law Firm

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