Neurodevelopmental Anomalies, Birth Defects Linked to Zika Identified

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Many children born to mothers with Zika infection do not undergo all recommended assessments.
Many children born to mothers with Zika infection do not undergo all recommended assessments.

HealthDay News —  Many children of mothers with evidence of confirmed or possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy do not undergo all recommended evaluations, according to a Vital Signs report published in the Aug. 10 issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Marion E. Rice, MPH, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues followed pregnancies with laboratory evidence of confirmed or possible Zika virus infection and infants resulting from these pregnancies through active surveillance methods. Data were included for children aged 1 year and older born in the United States territories and freely associated states.

The researchers found that 76% of the 1,450 children of mothers with laboratory evidence of confirmed or possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy and with reported follow-up care had developmental screening or evaluation, 60% had postnatal neuroimaging, 48 % had automated auditory brainstem response-based hearing screen or evaluation, and 36% had an ophthalmologic evaluation. Six, 9, and 1% of evaluated children had at least one Zika-associated birth defect identified, at least one neurodevelopmental abnormality possibly associated with congenital Zika virus infection, and both, respectively.

"Careful monitoring and evaluation of children born to mothers with evidence of Zika virus infection during pregnancy is essential for ensuring early detection of possible disabilities and early referral to intervention services," the authors write.

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