Chikungunya virus ‘poses danger to babies’

March 23rd, 2008 - 10:12 am ICT by admin  

New York, March 23 (IANS) Chikungunya virus can be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her baby if she becomes infected just before or after delivery, a new study says. Public health officials should take the threat this poses to babies into account, researchers urge in their study, Scidev.Net reported.

The team studied more than 7,500 women who delivered babies at the South Reunion Hospital Group (GSHR) on the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion during an outbreak of chikungunya virus between March 2005 and December 2006, when over one third of the population was infected.

They found that 700 women were infected with the virus between conception and three days before delivery, and 39 became infected between two days before and after delivery.

Mother-to-child transmission occurred only in babies born to mothers who were infected two days before or after delivery. Almost half of the babies born to mothers in this group were infected, and transmission occurred in mothers who had higher levels of virus in their blood.

Though healthy at birth, infected babies developed fever within 3-7 days.

“All the infected babies needed painkillers and feeding with a gastric tube,” Patrick G

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