Zika Virus

One in 7 infants exposed to Zika found to have health problems, CDC

Zika virus

From the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Zika virus (“Zika”) infection during pregnancy can cause severe health problems in babies, such as birth defects, problems with vision and hearing, seizures, and developmental delays.

More than 4,800 pregnancies in the US territories (American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Puerto Rico, Republic of Marshall Islands, US Virgin Islands) had a lab result showing confirmed or possible Zika from 2016-2018.

From these pregnancies, 1,450 babies were at least one year old and had some follow-up care reported for this analysis. About 1 in 7 (or 14%) of the 1,450 babies had one or more health problems possibly caused by Zika reported to the US Zika Pregnancy and Infant Registry.

Some of these problems were not apparent at birth and were identified as the babies grew older. The full range of long-term health problems caused by Zika will remain unknown until these babies mature. Identifying health problems early can help babies and children get the care they need.

For example, only about 1 in 3 (or 36%) of the 1,450 babies at least one year old had an eye exam by an eye doctor as recommended. These exams can help identify vision problems early, so that babies can get glasses or other services they may need.

Throughout early childhood, healthcare providers should closely monitor the health and development of all babies born to mothers with Zika during pregnancy.

CDC urges healthcare providers to:

  • Ask every mother about possible Zika exposure during pregnancy, even if her baby appears healthy.
  • Share Zika test results with all healthcare providers of both mother and baby.
  • Provide recommended follow-up care and referrals, including early intervention services.
  • Report health information about babies and young children affected by Zika during pregnancy to their state, local, or territorial health department, even if they appear healthy.
Tagged ,