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Congenital Zika Virus

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.

What is congenital Zika virus?

Congenital Zika virus means your baby got the virus before he or she was born.

What are the signs and symptoms of congenital Zika virus?

  • Microcephaly is a sign of the virus. It means your child has a head and brain that are smaller than normal. Microcephaly is usually related to learning and development problems.
  • One or both of your baby's eyes may be smaller than normal. Your baby may also have problems with vision, or other eye problems.
  • Your baby may have problems moving joints in his or her arms and legs.
  • Your baby may have problems swallowing, hearing loss, or seizures.

How is Zika virus diagnosed in my newborn?

Your baby will have his or her head measured to check for microcephaly. Your baby will be tested for Zika if he or she has microcephaly or other signs of congenital Zika. If there are no symptoms, your baby may still be tested if you had possible Zika exposure during pregnancy. The tests will be done within the first days of your baby's life. Blood and urine from your newborn will be tested. A sample of your baby's cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) may also be tested. CSF surrounds your baby's brain and spinal cord.

What should I expect if my baby has congenital Zika virus?

  • Your baby will need a hearing test and an ultrasound of his or her head. These tests will be done within the first month of your baby's life. An eye exam will also be done by a pediatric eye doctor.
  • Your baby will need to be seen by different specialists.
  • Healthcare providers will monitor your baby's learning and development at follow up visits.

When should I seek immediate care for my baby?

  • Your baby has difficulty breathing while being fed.
  • The size of your baby's head increases.
  • Your baby is fussy or vomiting.
  • Your baby coughs or chokes during feedings.

When should I contact my baby's healthcare provider?

  • Your baby has new or worsening symptoms.
  • You have questions or concerns about your baby's condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your baby's care. Learn about your baby's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your baby's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your baby. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.