Vital Signs: Zika-Associated Birth Defects and Neurodevelopmental Abnormalities Possibly Associated with Congenital Zika Virus Infection - U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States, 2018.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018 Aug 10; 67(31):858-867.MM
Zika virus infection during pregnancy causes serious birth defects and might be associated with neurodevelopmental abnormalities in children. Early identification of and intervention for neurodevelopmental problems can improve cognitive, social, and behavioral functioning.
Pregnancies with laboratory evidence of confirmed or possible Zika virus infection and infants resulting from these pregnancies are included in the U.S. Zika Pregnancy and Infant Registry (USZPIR) and followed through active surveillance methods. This report includes data on children aged ≥1 year born in U.S. territories and freely associated states. Receipt of reported follow-up care was assessed, and data were reviewed to identify Zika-associated birth defects and neurodevelopmental abnormalities possibly associated with congenital Zika virus infection.
Among 1,450 children of mothers with laboratory evidence of confirmed or possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy and with reported follow-up care, 76% had developmental screening or evaluation, 60% had postnatal neuroimaging, 48% had automated auditory brainstem response-based hearing screen or evaluation, and 36% had an ophthalmologic evaluation. Among evaluated children, 6% had at least one Zika-associated birth defect identified, 9% had at least one neurodevelopmental abnormality possibly associated with congenital Zika virus infection identified, and 1% had both.
One in seven evaluated children had a Zika-associated birth defect, a neurodevelopmental abnormality possibly associated with congenital Zika virus infection, or both reported to the USZPIR. Given that most children did not have evidence of all recommended evaluations, additional anomalies might not have been identified. Careful monitoring and evaluation of children born to mothers with evidence of Zika virus infection during pregnancy is essential for ensuring early detection of possible disabilities and early referral to intervention services.