“Look, I do not want to talk to any of you [journalists]. A lot has been said and it has hurt us.” That is how we were received by Joselyn Perez Valencia, who became the first confirmed case of Zika in Costa Rica on February 22nd.
The news generated a lot of media attention nationwide because Perez was 38 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with the disease, and there was a possibility that her baby would suffer the effects of microcephaly.
Microcephaly is insufficient development of the skull in the baby, often accompanied by cerebral atrophy.
In addition, Perez said that as soon as they knew she had Zika, she and her family were besieged by mobile TV channels and reporters who wanted to force her to talk.
Her father, Severiano Perez, expressed his dissatisfaction with how the news was handled by the national media, which he said hurt the image of Nicoya and Samara just before the beginning of Easter Week. Both of them agree that it affected tourists coming to their community.
However, after explaining that the purpose of our visit is to find out about the health of her baby, Joselyn allows us to talk and to meet the beautiful Keyshell Alondra Ramirez Perez, who sleeps peacefully in her crib.
Out of respect for her privacy, we have decided not to publish her photograph or mention where the family lives now.
Keyshell was born on March 8th at La Anexion Hospital. She weighed 3230 grams (7 pounds, 2 ounces) and, most importantly, she is a healthy and charming baby.
“I had her by caesarean but everything else was a normal delivery. The doctors checked her and everything was fine. After two days, I was released from the hospital,” she said.
At 23, Joselyn is now the mother of two. Her first daughter, 3-year-old Hoshlyn Rocio, is with her, along with her sister-in-law and niece.
This 23-year-old Samara mother says that if she had known everything that was going to happen following the diagnosis of the illness, she would have preferred not to have gone to the EBAIS clinic that morning.
“The truth is that I went to the clinic thinking about the health of the child more than anything. I had a high fever and my eyes hurt (conjunctivitis). If I’d known that everything that happened was going to happen, it would have been better not to have gone,” she commented.
For now, Jocelyn wants to give her children the best, despite not receiving support from either of the children’s fathers. She is hopeful about her future as head of her household and plans to continue working with projects in the community from the Ministry of Labor when her maternity leave ends.
“I am a happy mother because Zika did not affect my baby. And now I want to work to give them what I can. I don’t have a lot of money to give them luxuries,” she concluded