Published on 15th February 2016 by

Living With Microcephaly: WHO investigating link between zika and microcephaly

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Ana Carolina Caceres was diagnosed with microcephaly at birth. Now she has graduated and written a book about it. As Brazil grapples with a surge in cases, she has become the object of intense media interest and a source of hope.

“The doctor told me that she might not walk, talk or survive to adulthood. We were terrified. She had five surgeries to remove part of her skull. She had convulsions until she was fourteen”, describes Ana’s mother. Ana Carolina was born with craniosynostosis-microcephaly, where sutures of the skull fuse together and prevent the development of the brain. Now 24, she has completed a degree in journalism and written a book that chronicles her case and those of five others living with the condition. With the current panic over the rise in cases of microcephaly, apparently linked to an outbreak of the Zika virus, Caceres has been thrust into the national spotlight. But in the wake of her fame she has had to contend with questions over whether her condition bears sufficient similarity to the current spate of cases. Her mother worries she may be giving parents false hope. “In comparison to other microcephaly cases I know, and everyday there’s a new case, I believe that I was lucky”, says Ana Carolina. “But I think my story matters because of the hope it could bring expectant parents, no matter what problems their child may have”, she says.

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