Zika funding. It comes down to this. Even as Congress has reached its planned seven week summer break, there is still no Zika budget, the United States faces its first couple deaths from Zika virus, one in Utah, and the other in Puerto Rico. The AP ( Associated Press) reports that the main hang up was Democratic objections to GOP language which would block Planned Parenthood clinics in Puerto Rico from receiving money to fight the virus. Shame on them all.
The Imperial College in London has presented a bad news/good news scenario. Their modeling has indicated that Zika will likely last in Latin America for another two to three years. At that stage, herd immunity will hopefully develop.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is working on preparing a protocol for the first locally transmitted cases of Zika. One of the biggest challenges is that 80 percent of Zika infections area symptomatic. Almost all stars of the Union are at risk including the northernmost United States of Michigan, New Hampshire, Washington state and Minnesota. There are currently 346 pregnant women with Zika in the United States.
Half a million people are excepted to travel to Brasil this year for the Olympics. However experts at the CDC are projecting that this will not spread Zika internationally. They have explained their position by saying that this half million represents only about 1% of all international travel to Brasil.
HERE is the link to the excellent CDC pages on Zika.
Happily much of the other news this week is good, though a fair amount of it falls in the "we already knew this" category.
One thing we did not even suspect was that a mouse could have a menstrual cycle. The spiny mouse has a tiny nine day menstrual cycle. Researcher hope the mouse will provide a model to study the reproductive cycle in women.
Moderate exercise in pregnancy has been shown to benefit both mother and baby. In particular, mothers who do moderate regular exercise in pregnancy have lower rates of hypertension, gestational diabetes, and C section.
Both mothers and fathers weight during pregnancy affect the weight of children later in life. This is believed to be true not only by virtue of lifestyle but by genetics. It appears that both mothers and fathers weight influence gene expression in the unborn, which postnatally can affect weight. This knowledge may help us counsel prospective parents and spare their children unnecessary risk and struggle from obesity.
The Journal of Pediatrics has published research indicating that breastfeeding reduces the incidence of diarrhea and otitis media (ear infections) in infants. At the same time, the USPSTF (US Preventive Services Task Force) used US taxpayer dollars to create recommendations which support but no longer promote breastfeeding. ACOG (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) has sent their objections in writing regarding this important change. The breastfeeding discussion needs to be continued, and very publicly, since we all have a stake in the outcomes.
Stay cool this week, and take precautions from mosquitos. Remember, DEET is safe, and safe in pregnancy.