Microcephaly birth in U.S. raises Zika concerns

The world is concerned about Zika, and while no one has yet to contract the virus in the United States, hundreds have done so in Puerto Rico, and hundreds more have brought the virus into the country from other affected regions. Now, though, another baby has been born in the United States with Zika-related microcephaly. This is only the second known occurrence in the U.S.

Zika Is Impacting Babies

Since most people in America first heard about Zika, that has been the image and fear that has created the nightmare. A baby, handicapped for life, due to this virus most people in the States knew about just a few months ago.

According to CNN, the baby was born in a New Jersey hospital to a mother visiting from Honduras. The earlier case was born in a Hawaiian hospital.

When New Jersey doctors first reviewed a sonogram of the expectant mother, they strongly expected Zika-related microcephaly. This was, apparently, the reason the mother traveled to the U.S. to begin with, believing she was infected and that her baby would receive better care in the States. With relatives here, that seemed like the logical choice.

Doctors have said this child will have severe and tremendous neurological problems, and will likely not do well.

Zika and Public Relations

According to the CDC, there are at least 300 pregnant women diagnosed with this virus in the United States and its territories. As these numbers grow, so too does the fear related to the virus. For many, the disease is a mystery, a scary boogeyman, something they can’t fathom and don’t know how to deal with. International and national infectious disease organizations have attempted to get good information out about the disease, but these efforts are struggling to keep pace with online hysteria and tabloid media.

While Zika is a danger, the fact that many people don’t understand the danger is what tends to really up the fear factor. If they don’t know the risks or how the disease is transmitted, all they see is the severely deformed baby on TV. That’s the stuff of nightmares for countless people. Because of this, those with the facts must win the public relations battle.

They must get their narrative out to as many people as possible as quickly as possible. That’s the only way to get — and stay — ahead of the madness.

David Firester is the CEO of TRAC Intelligence.”