[Skip to Navigation]
January 2019

Revealing the Effects of Zika—Detection of Brain Abnormalities and Other Disabilities Associated With Congenital Infection

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA Pediatr. 2019;173(1):16-18. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4164

Although Zika has faded from the media headlines, it remains an important clinical and public health risk for many women and their families. Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious defects of the brain and eye in the offspring, and it has been linked to other neurodevelopmental disabilities, such as seizures, joint contractures, swallowing difficulties, vision impairment, and hearing loss.1-3 Women who are pregnant, attempting conception, or at risk for unintended pregnancy may be at risk for the devastating consequences of congenital Zika virus infection if they or their partners live in or travel to affected areas. Although Zika virus transmission is much lower now than it was in 2016, there remain nearly 100 countries and territories with some risk of Zika infection (https://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html). Although the magnitude of risk to pregnant travelers, pregnant partners of travelers, or residents of areas with risk of Zika is unclear, potential risks might be of greatest concern for travelers who are likely to lack immunity to Zika. Travelers to and residents of these areas should remain vigilant about these risks and consult with a health care professional regarding ongoing risks in affected areas.

Add or change institution