Microcephaly is a birth defect. The baby’s brain doesn’t grow properly. The baby is born with a very small head.
Microcephaly may be caused by an infection, like the Zika virus. This is carried by a type of mosquito.
If a woman is bitten when she is pregnant she may get Zika. The illness is mild, but it may affect the growing baby.
Microcephaly can show up on an ultrasound scan during pregnancy.
Sometimes it is not seen until the baby is born.
If your baby is born in a clinic or hospital, his head will be measured soon after the birth. If your baby is born at home, take him to the clinic. A health worker will check your baby and measure his head.
There is no known cure for microcephaly.
Babies with microcephaly have different problems. Some have fits. Some have problems with speaking. Some have feeding problems.
These babies may be slow to learn. Some will be slow to walk and talk. They may have problems with hearing and seeing.
Babies with mild microcephaly may have a few problems as they grow up. Babies with more major microcephaly need extra care all their lives
How to prevent Zika Virus
- Wear clothes that cover your skin. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours. So wear light-coloured clothes.
- Use insect repellents on your skin. Ask at the pharmacy or health centre which ones to use. Or look for one that contains Deet.
- Use a net. Sleep and rest under an insecticide-treated mosquito net. Make sure you use it day and night, even in hot weather.
- Tuck the net around you. If it has holes, patch them with fabric.
- Use window and door screens if you can to keep insects out of the house
- You find mosquitoes near pools of still water and rubbish.
- Remove pots, bottles, and containers that collect water. Take them away from outside your house and workplace. Cover water tanks so mosquitoes can’t get in. Unblock drains so water flows away.
- Put rubbish in plastic bags. Put them in a closed container so animals can’t tear them open.
- If you think you may have been bitten, or have Zika, go to the clinic.