by Linda Straker
Health Minister Nickolas Steele has confirmed that one child was born with Microcephaly as a result of the mother becoming infected with the Zika virus during her pregnancy.
The child was born in the last quarter of 2016, but it was not disclosed to the public until Tuesday morning, in response to a question from a journalist. “We did not want to raise an alarm because we saw that as private,” Steele said following the news conference. The location of the child was not disclosed.
Zika was a major public health concern during 2016, not just in Grenada but for the entire region. Hundreds were infected in Grenada and all pregnant women were mandated to do the test.
According to the PAHO website, Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. During pregnancy, a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows. Microcephaly can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size. Microcephaly can be an isolated condition, meaning that it can occur with no other major birth defects, or it can occur in combination with other major birth defects.
Steele said that the Zika infection has been stabilised and there are no new infections.
During the height of the Zika outbreak, 11 persons were diagnosed locally with Guillain-Barré Syndrome which is directly linked to Zika — 2 have since died while the others recovered.