Brazilian families struggles with newborns with microcephaly

CCTV News

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One year ago, Zika dominated the headlines.

Back then researchers had identified a possible connection between the disease and microcephaly, a debilitating birth defect.

CCTV America’s Paulo Cabral takes a closer look at the Zika effect on one family in Sao Paulo.

Brazilian families struggles with newborns with microcephaly

Brazilian families struggles with newborns with microcephaly

One year ago, Zika dominated the headlines. Back then researchers had identified a possible connection between the disease and microcephaly, a debilitating birth defect. CCTV America’s Paulo Cabral takes a closer look at the Zika effect on one family in Sao Paulo.

Laura and Lucas are 11 month-old twins. But only Laura was born with microcephaly, an abnormal reduction of the cranium. The likely cause-the mother infected by the Zika Virus during her pregnancy.

For Jaqueline, caring for her two youngest children became a full time job-with little or no support from the government.

By studying Jaqeline’s twins, doctors hope to learn how Zika causes birth defects like microcephaly. Researchers have linked microcephaly to a broad spectrum of health problems like seizures, difficulty walking, hearing and vision loss and stunted brain development.

In November last year Brazilian authorities declared a state of public health emergency after a surge in cases of microcephaly, apparently related to the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika Virus. One year on, doctors are still discovering new cases and the government is struggling to provide care for the families already affected.

Over the last few months Brazil’s wealthier southeastern regions-like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo have reported dozens of Zika cases.

The poor northeastern region – where a lack of sanitation favors the spread of the virus-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito – remains the hardest hit area. Thousands of children have been affected there.

Loving parents do whatever it takes to help their children with microcephaly, but they say they need help. Children born with microcephaly may require lifelong care.