Mum speaks out over Zika virus crisis

Les from Portsmouth who adopted a seven-year-old boy

Why Father’s Day is so special for Portsmouth’s Les

  • Parent says congenital condition is not a ‘scary, horrible disease’
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A MOTHER whose daughter has a rare condition which can be caused by the Zika virus wants to raise awareness about it.

Annaliese Birch says her six-year-old daughter Evie is a happy child and can do most things other children enjoy.

Annaliese Birch with her daughter Evie, who was born with microcephaly            'Picture Ian Hargreaves  (160171-1)

Annaliese Birch with her daughter Evie, who was born with microcephaly 'Picture Ian Hargreaves (160171-1)

Evie was born with microcephaly, a congenital malformation where babies have abnormally small heads and may have delayed brain development.

The condition is suspected to be linked to the current epidemic of Zika virus in the Americas.

Evie’s microcephaly was thought to be caused by a bleed on the placenta when she was born.

Annaliese, a 30-year-old mum-of-five, of Hemsley Walk, Cowplain, said: ‘There are so many bad things being said about it.

‘It’s not a scary, horrible disease.

‘Evie is a lovely little girl and has a happy life.

‘She’s got four older brothers but she rules them! She’s aware of everything.’

Evie goes to Riverside Special School in Purbrook and enjoys learning new words and building things.

But it is thought her brain capacity may only develop to that of a teenager.

Annaliese added: ‘It’s something that has been going for years, but nobody knew about it.

‘It’s not something to be scared of.’

About being the mum of a child with microcephaly, she said: ‘It’s a challenge. It’s hard work, but I enjoy it.’

The outbreak of the Zika virus in South America has led to the World Health Organisation declaring a state of global emergency.

Brazilian doctors have reported 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly versus 147 in 2014.