The Zika virus is spreading fear through pregnant women in Brazil, where thousands of babies have been born with devastating birth defects linked to the disease. Diane Hodges reports.
Pregnant Brazilians fear Zika infection
Health workers in Brazil are rushing to bring an outbreak of Zika virus under control.
The disease can be devastating if a pregnant woman contracts it, causing her baby to be born with an unusually small head.
So far, some 3,700 cases of the syndrome have been linked to the disease.
The women who are most at risk are those who are least able to afford the expensive care such babies need — the poor.
(SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) PREGNANT WOMAN, ELISANGELA BARROS, SAYING:
“We have no running water like in the rich areas, it is a very poor area with a lot of favelas, humble people. There are a lot of rats, a lot of bad things, this makes the problem much worse.”
The virus is spread through the bites of mosquitoes, and that is making it more difficult to stop, according to gynecologist Dr. Adriana Scavuzza.
Dr. Adriana Scvuzza says it is reviving haunting memories.
SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) GYNECOLOGIST DR. ADRIANA SCAVUZZA, SAYING:
“The situation is reminiscent of the era of Thalidomide, a whole generation. But in the case of Thalidomide, it was easier to remove what was causing it from the market. How can you take the mosquito out of circulation? We have been living with this mosquito for a very long time.”
But officials are trying. They’re fumigating neighborhoods, and they say they’ll hand out insect repellent to tens of thousands of low income pregnant women.
In the meantime, they’re urging women to think carefully before getting pregnant.