The Big Brother virus is the most frequent congenital infection in developed countries. It is estimated that it occurs in 0.5% of pregnancies or, which is the same, in one in every 150 live births.
This infection can cause long-term sequelae., such as cerebral palsy or deafness, if contracted during the first trimester of pregnancy. In all other cases, the older brother virus usually does not lead to serious consequences.
In some cases, the big brother virus becomes deadly. It can also lead to blindness and various forms of physical and mental disabilities. For this reason it is very important to know what it is and how to prevent contagion.
What is the big brother virus
The clinical name of the Big Brother virus it is cytomegalovirus. It is a virus that belongs to the same family as herpes and is closely associated with diseases such as chickenpox or mononucleosis.
This infection is common, but rarely causes symptoms in adults. It is only dangerous when contracted by a pregnant woman or someone with a suppressed immune system. The greatest danger occurs when a pregnant woman acquires it in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy..
Also, it is dangerous for the mother to get the virus in the two months before conception.. This is because this microorganism can remain in the blood during that time and infect the fetus in early pregnancy. During the first trimester, fetal brain You are very vulnerable to the effects of this virus.
In common parlance, it is known as “the big brother virus” because It is very common for another small child to infect the pregnant woman. The implications of the infection are most serious when the mother contracts the virus for the first time. If it’s a re-infection, the consequences are usually milder.
The effects of the virus
The big brother virus mainly affects the nervous system of the fetus. The neurological changes it causes range from almost imperceptible to very serious. There may be vision problems, deafness, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, etc.
Sometimes, these affects can be noticed by the pregnancy itself, through ultrasound. There are also occasions when the baby dies before birth or during delivery. In some cases, the effects of this virus are noticed soon after birth, through signs such as:
- Low birth weight.
- Enlarged spleen.
- Enlarged liver and liver function problems.
- Yellow eyes and skin (jaundice).
- Purple spots on the skin.
- Microcephaly, or a smaller than normal head.
While these signs are serious and may be present at birth, the truth is that most problems appear later. Typically, neurologic abnormalities become apparent during the first few months or years of life.whether or not there were symptoms at birth.
Transmission of the big brother virus can occur through sexual contact or with the bodily fluids of a person with the disease.
It is very common for children under 3 to get infected with this virus when they go to daycare. However, they remain contagious for a long time, even without symptoms. Many mothers become infected by coming into contact with the saliva, tears or urine of these young children.
Contagion can also occur during childbirth if the baby comes into contact with infected fluids. Likewise, through breastfeeding. The truth is the later the fetus or child becomes infected, the lower the risk that there are important consequences.
If the baby shows the typical signs of the big brother virus at birth, it can be diagnosed immediately. However, in many cases these manifestations do not occur. In that case, the disease can only be detected by a clinical test.
If the pregnant mother has been in contact with someone who has the virus or has symptoms of the disease, it is indicated that a blood test is performed. Also, if you want to know if the fetus has the virus, an amniocentesis is usually done.
How to prevent the Big Brother virus
Taking into account that the big brother virus can cause very serious effects on the child, the best option is to prevent contagion. If there is a small child in the house, the mother should take some basic precautions, as this is the main route of infection.
Hugging the baby or being close to him is not a problem, as close contact with bodily fluids is required for transmission to occur. The appropriate preventive measures are as follows:
- Wash your hands after changing a diaper.
- Wash your hands after blowing on your child or wiping away tears.
- Throw away any tissues your child used right away.
- Don’t kiss children on the mouth.
- A pregnant woman should not share cutlery or crockery with other peopleespecially during the first trimester.
- Maintain good hygiene on all surfaces in the home.
Many pregnant mothers are unaware of the existence of the big brother virus. It is very important to disseminate information so that the indicated precautionary measures are taken and, in this way, a disease with serious sequelae for the child is avoided.
Children born with the Big Brother virus they receive treatment that improves the prognosis, but does not cure them. Research is currently underway to develop new drugs and, perhaps, a vaccine.
The post Big Brother virus: what it is and how to prevent it appeared first on research-school.