Zika virus alienates new mother in Brazil

Army soldiers and a health agent from Sao Paulo's Public health secretary check a residence during an operation against the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is a vector for transmitting the Zika virus in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. A U.S. warning urging pregnant women to avoid travel to Latin American countries where the mosquito-borne virus is multiplying threatens to depress tourism to the region, one of its few bright spots at a time of deep economic pain. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

(CNN) – She was so excited, but the birth of her second child left Rafaela Oliveira more alone than she could have imagined.

At 3 months, Luis Felipe has a big appetite just like her first baby, but he was born with a small head and brain damage, microcephaly.

“People here react like he’s got some contagious disease. She says. People look at him when we’re in the street,” said Rafaela Oliveira Dos Santos.

There was no warning. Doctors only detected the disorder after Luis Felipe was born, “What gives me strength is the love I feel for him”, she says.

Luis Felipe will need to be cared for his entire life.

She’s doing this three times a week now, taking her son to physical therapy, and yet she goes back to work in march, it’s not clear how she’s going to do this. And she’s the only person in her family who has a job.

Here in the state of Pernambuco we’ve seen the heartache and financial burden this is putting on families.  More than 4,000 cases of newborn microcephaly have been reported in Brazil since Zika was first detected less than a year ago. 40 percent of them, where babies and moms face endless jabs and tests.

Thais is telling me that she’s come here. Vinicius is less than a month old, so that they can measure his head and find out if he has microcephaly. Something that she is praying doesn’t come true.”

“These babies have brain damage, to differing degrees, which means inserting this generation into society is going to be very complicated,” said Angela Rocha.

Research continues to establish a cause and effect with the Zika virus, spread by the same mosquitos that transmits yellow fever and dengue. There is no vaccine, no cure.  Which means the aedes aegypti mosquito is public enemy number one.

200,000 troops going door-to-door. Eliminating the stagnant water that serves as the mosquito’s breeding ground.

The health ministry admits it has been losing the war against the mosquito and mothers-to-be across Brazil see their moment of hope turned into a moment of unbelievable anguish.

Copyright CNN 2015

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