Zika virus emerging as a newly recognizing congenital infection; that they could damage the developing brain. In the midst of an unprecedented Zika crisis in Brazil; there were a few flickers of hope; Some babies appearing to be normal at birth; free of devastating birth defects that affecting other Brazilian children exposing to the virus in utero; the reality for Zika exposing infants is much more complicating.
But many infants in Rio de Janeiro who were being exposing to the Zika virus during pregnancy; performing neurodevelopmental testing when the babies ranged in age from 7 to 32 months. These infants’ mothers had had Zika relating symptoms themselves, including rash. Although many children had normal assessments; 29% scored below average in at least one domain of neurological development, including cognitive performance; fine and gross motor skills and expressive language.
Recognizing congenital infection
By finding the progressively higher risks for developmental; hearing and eye abnormality depending on how early the pregnancy was at the time the infants were exposing. Because Zika virus has an affinity for immature neurons, even babies who were not born with microcephaly remaining at continued risk for suffering abnormalities. Of note, 24 of 49 (49%) infants who had abnormalities at birth went on to have normal test results in the second or third year of life.
By contrast, 17 of 68 infants who had normal assessments at birth had below-average developmental testing or had abnormalities in hearing or vision by age 32 months. This work follows babies who were born in 2015 and 2016. It’s heartening that some babies born with abnormalities tested in the normal range later in life, though it’s unclear whether any specific interventions help to deliver these positive findings. And it is quite sobering that babies who appeared normal at birth went on to develop abnormalities due to that early Zika exposure.
Zika virus infection
It is quite sobering that babies who appearing normal at birth went on to develop abnormalities due to that early Zika exposure. Infants with congenital Zika virus infection are at risk for multiple abnormali0-ties relating to impairment in neurodevelopment. Although some findings apparent at birth may resolve with time; infants with no abnormalities apparent at birth may develop problems in early childhood.
This study adds to the growing body of research that argues in favor of ongoing follow up for Zika exposing children; even if their neurologic exams were reassuring at birth; As Zika exposing children approach school age; it is critical to better characterize the potential implications for the education system and public health.