Peggy Honein, PhD, MPH: Zika Infection in Pregnancy

OCTOBER 09, 2017
Jenna Payesko


Peggy Honein, PhD, MPH, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: What we've seen so far, is among all the pregnancies, with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection about 5–10% of the babies have a serious Zika associated birth defect right when they're born that's identified right away, a brain abnormality, a microcephaly, are the most common but some also have eye abnormalities, other early brain malformations or some consequences to the damage of their central nervous system like the congenital contractures that we see in some infants. We're learning more every day, and we know that they're some infants that don't have a problem detected at birth but do have things noted later, that they have a normal head circumference when they're born but the brain doesn't grow normally so they develop microcephaly. From this outbreak in the Americas, the oldest infants right now are about 18 months old. So, we're doing evaluations and learning about what we see in those infants, as well as starting to look at some of the countries that have had endemic transmission of Zika to see if we can identify older children with congenital Zika syndrome.

So CDC released guidance in August of 2016 about the care and evaluation of infants with possible congenial Zika virus infection. We've been rapidly gathering data since then and convened a forum in late August of this year to solicit individual expert input from many people in the field and better understand what the state of the art is right now. So we're working carefully to try and prepare and release updated guidance for the care and evaluation of infants with possible Zika infections. 

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