Latest Ebola News: Why pregnant women and infants are more susceptible to Ebola

ebola pregy

With the deadly outbreak of Ebola, it has become apparent enough that prevention, at least in this case, is better than a cure because although there has been some preliminary success with experimental drugs, a definitive cure is still nowhere in sight. This makes the potent virus dangerous for people with low immunity levels. Keep in mind that the virus doesn't spare individuals with a healthy immune system as well. This virus poses maximum threat to pregnant women and infants; here are a few of the reasons why:

Low immunity makes them more susceptible

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A healthy adult's immune system is strong enough to withstand the attack of various viruses and bacteria. However, the potent Ebola virus can penetrate the healthiest of persons and attack the immune system making one vulnerable to the Ebola virus disease. During pregnancy a woman's immunity is low, this is a normal physiological process of the body which helps the fetus adapt and grow inside the womb, so that the immune cells of the mother don't recognise the baby as a foreign growth and impede its development. 'This simple altered physiology makes a pregnant woman vulnerable to various viral or bacterial infections. In such a scenario, an Ebola attack can stand to be a threat to both the mother and the baby. The same is true for infants whose immune system isn't developed enough to even fight low grade infections and diseases, says Dr Ratan Kumar Vaish, Senior Consultant, Department of Medicine, Rockland Group of Hospital, Delhi-NCR. (Read more: Latest Ebola News: Has the Ebola virus really come to India?)

There is still no cure for Ebola

While other necessary measures and precautions can ensure a safe and smooth pregnancy even in an ailing woman, with Ebola, this option is out of reach. As the virus is still being treated with experimental drugs that have not been proven, there is still no known cure. However, some investigations show that the drug has the efficacy to fight the virus. Unfortunately, the research is still in its nascent stage and it is still uncertain if it can be used on pregnant women and infants given their special needs with suppressed immunity. (Read how the Ebola virus spreads in humans.)

It can spread rapidly

Ebola virus enters into the human system and multiplies rapidly and attacks the immune system of the person. This is why the virus is supposed to be so potent and destructive in nature. 'In case an expectant mother gets infected with the virus her chances of survival becomes bleak which in turn puts the baby also at risk. The virus can claim the life of the mother and the baby ending two lives in one go. Hence it is a matter of concern if a pregnant woman gets the virus,' says Dr Ratan. (Read: 5 reasons the ebola virus should never come to India)

Its outspread cannot be controlled

The Ebola virus is highly contagious and it spreads easilythrough body fluids of an infected person through direct contact. Hence, bad hygiene practices can make one more susceptible to the same. One major reason why pregnant women and infants are at risk is because this virus can get into the human system quite easily. So maintaining high levels of hygiene during pregnancy and with newborns is of the utmost importance. (Read: Ebola virus signs and symptoms you need to watch out for!)

'However, the deadly virus has not yet reached Indian shores and one can put his mind to rest on issues like how to fight the virus. But remember, taking necessary precautions is always advisable to stave off any such viral attacks or infections,' says Dr Ratan.

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Image source: Getty Images

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