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Editorial
January 6, 2020

Neurodevelopmental Abnormalities Associated With In Utero Zika Virus Infection in Infants and Children—The Unfolding Story

Author Affiliations
  • 1National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA Pediatr. Published online January 6, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.5257

In the United States, more than 7400 pregnancies with laboratory evidence of confirmed or possible Zika virus infection were identified and included in the national surveillance network, the US Zika Pregnancy and Infant Registry, during the Zika virus outbreak in the Region of the Americas from 2015 to 2017.1 These pregnancies included those completed from December 1, 2015, through March 31, 2018, meaning the children from these pregnancies ranged in age from 18 months to nearly 4 years by the fall of 2019. Although between 5% and 10% of these children have received a diagnosis of serious defects of the brain or eye, including microcephaly, many of them have not undergone the recommended postnatal brain imaging and ophthalmological examinations to fully identify these health problems.2-6 Some infants with a standard head circumference measurement at birth may have underlying brain and/or eye defects. In a report from the US territories and freely associated states, 23 children without microcephaly had brain and/or eye defects that would have been missed without the recommended neuroimaging and/or ophthalmological examinations.4

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