Zika's Damage Continues in Children Infected Before Birth
TUESDAY, July 9, 2019 -- New research shows that neurological damage for babies who were exposed to the Zika virus while in the womb continues to unfold years after birth.
Developmental problems were found in one-third of the 216 children studied, some of whom were 3 years old. The problems affected language, thinking and motor skills development. Some also had eye and hearing issues.
Surprisingly, the researchers also discovered that fewer than 4% of the children had microcephaly -- a smaller-than-normal head that is one of the hallmarks of Zika exposure in the womb. And in two of those cases, the head actually grew to normal size over time.
"Children who were exposed to Zika during their mothers' pregnancy need to have developmental assessments over time, and eye and hearing exams should be performed," said lead study author Dr. Karin Nielsen-Saines. She is a professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles.
"If there is risk of developmental delay, or developmental delay is identified, there are cognitive, language and behavior interventions that can be put in place to improve outcomes for these children," she added in a university news release.
The finding that some children born with microcephaly went on to develop normal head circumference by age 1 means that "microcephaly is not necessarily static," Nielsen-Saines said.
The study was published July 8 in the journal Nature Medicine.
The researchers noted that they didn't have a comparison group of non-exposed children who were born at the same time and raised in the same settings as those known to have been exposed to Zika in the womb.
"Zika exposure can be a very difficult condition to diagnose in retrospect, so we can't rule out undiagnosed Zika infection in a control group of children enrolled at the same time," Nielsen-Saines said.
"Neurodevelopmental tests should be done simultaneously in similar populations with the same background," she suggested.
"These children require close attention and ongoing surveillance, so that prompt interventions to improve their development can be provided if needed," Nielsen-Saines said.
© 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Posted: July 2019
Read this next
THURSDAY, Oct. 22, 2020 -- Pregnancy can increase the risk of a rare, dangerous heart condition called aortic dissection, researchers report. This is especially true for women...
By Stefani Kopenec American Heart Association News THURSDAY, Oct. 22, 2020 (American Heart Association News) -- Wendy Wees suffered a miscarriage during her first pregnancy with...
THURSDAY, Oct. 22, 2020 -- Hispanic mothers-to-be in the southern United States are almost twice as likely to have COVID-19 as non-Hispanic women, a new study finds. The...
More News Resources
- FDA Medwatch Drug Alerts
- Daily MedNews
- News for Health Professionals
- New Drug Approvals
- New Drug Applications
- Drug Shortages
- Clinical Trial Results
- Generic Drug Approvals
- Monthly Update Archive
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Whatever your topic of interest, subscribe to our newsletters to get the best of Drugs.com in your inbox.