Sat | Sep 23, 2017

'No case of microcephaly'

Published:Wednesday | October 5, 2016 | 10:00 AM

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said he has not received any report of babies being born in Jamaica with microcephaly, as a result of the Zika virus (ZIKV).

The minister said they have on record more than 500 pregnant women who have contracted ZIKV, but he is yet to be notified that any of those cases have resulted in a case of microcephaly.

Tufton said the ministry remains very transparent about the possibility of babies being born with the disease, noting that if and when any report is confirmed, details will be made available to the public.

He added that the Government has taken a proactive position on the matter and has established a fund to address the possibility of babies being born with microcephaly.

"We have put in place $50 million to provide support, such as early stimulation and psychosocial counselling for the mothers. We have also provided training in the respective parishes in certain of the health facilities to deal with those cases, once they occur," the minister said.

 

MICROCEPHALY FACTS

 

- Microcephaly is a condition in which an infant's head is smaller than the heads of other children of the same age or sex.

- Microcephaly usually is the result of the brain developing abnormally in the womb or not growing as it should after birth.

- Microcephaly can be diagnosed during pregnancy or after the baby is born.

- During pregnancy, microcephaly can sometimes be diagnosed with an ultrasound test.

- Babies with microcephaly can have a range of problems, including:

      Seizures/fits

      Developmental delay

      Intellectual disability

      Problems with movement and balance

      Feeding problems

      Hearing loss

      Visions problems

      Severe microcephaly can be life-threatening

- Microcephaly is a lifelong condition, with no known cure or standard treatment

- Microcephaly can range from mild to severe

- Babies who develop microcephaly may not live to full term, may be born prematurely, may be stillborn or may survive but with lifelong disability.

- Babies with microcephaly will need close monitoring, and regular check-ups with a health-care provider to monitor their growth and development.