Follow-Up of 11 Infants With Zika Virus Identifies Neurological Impairments

October 3, 2016

CHICAGO -- October 3, 2016 -- A report on 11 infants in Brazil suggests the term “congenital Zika syndrome” be used to describe such cases because microcephaly was only 1 of the clinical signs of this congenital malformation disorder, according to an article published online by JAMA Neurology.

The article, by Amilcar Tanuri, MD, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and colleagues describes abnormalities present in babies from pregnant women exposed to the Zika virus.

The infants’ mothers had confirmed Zika virus diagnoses during pregnancy and ultrasound exams that showed some fetal abnormality in brain development. Cases were referred between October 2015 and February 2016.

Zika virus was identified in amniotic fluid, placenta, cord blood and neonatal tissues collected post-mortem because 3 of the 11 babies died within 48 hours of delivery and 2 mothers consented to autopsies. The remaining infants were followed from gestation to age 6 months.

The deaths of the 3 infants resulted in a perinatal mortality rate of 27.3%.

Brain damage and neurological impairments were identified in all patients, including microcephaly, a reduction in cerebral volume, ventriculomegaly, cerebellar hypoplasia, lissencephaly with hydrocephalus, and fetal akinesia deformation sequence.

Testing for other causes of microcephaly, such as genetic disorders and infections, were negative and the Zika virus genome was found in the tissues of both the mothers and their babies.

“Combined findings from clinical, laboratory, imaging and pathological examinations provided a more complete picture of the severe damage and developmental abnormalities cause by Zika virus infection than has been previously reported,” the authors concluded.

SOURCE: JAMA Neurology

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