My article on Zika was just published this month by Naturopathic Doctor News and Review (NDNR). The article, entitled Zika: Original Antigenic Sin? is written for my medical colleagues and might be dense (a nice word for mind-numbingly boring) for someone expecting.
In the article, I talk about how Zika’s birth defects might be tied to other infections. Specifically previous infections by the dengue virus. The previous dengue infection attacks the Zika virus, surrounding it, but does not kill it. Instead, the immune system allows the now surrounded Zika virus to enter the brain and spinal cord. It’s this reaction, not just the virus itself, that allows Zika to do what it does to infants.
The take home for expecting moms is: previous dengue infection? Greater risk of birth defects. No previous dengue infection? Probably much lower risk of birth defects.
Oh, and I mention that Zika isn’t passed from person-to-person primarily via mosquitoes. It’s likely passed by unprotected sex. So for those of you patting yourself on the back because you don’t happen to live in Houston these days, remember that you don’t need a mosquito bite to get infected.
Want a lot more? I wrote a short book about it, called Zika Virus When You’re Expecting. If you’d like it in Spanish, the translated version is Todo lo que necesitas saber sobre el virus del Zika.