More Clinical Guidance for Zika

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More Clinical Guidance for Zika

Treating infants with prenatal exposure

By Working Nurse
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With the arrival of Zika in the U.S. has come a growing number of infants — 22 so far — suffering from birth defects resulting from congenital Zika infection. The CDC has issued new interim clinical guidance on caring for children who may have been exposed to Zika.

Prenatal exposure to the Zika virus (ZIKV) can lead to congenital Zika syndrome, which may include a variety of severe birth defects ranging from microcephaly to seizures and vision or hearing loss.

The latest guidance from the CDC recommends that newborns whose mothers tested positive for ZIKV receive thorough pre-discharge screenings, including ultrasound, head circumference measurement, neurological assessment and screening for hearing abnormalities.  


Among the more worrisome aspects of congenital Zika syndrome is that researchers are still trying to determine its clinical spectrum. Some of the possible effects can be detected in prenatal ultrasounds, but others cannot.

Therefore, children who had or may have had congenital Zika infection should receive ongoing monitoring even if there are no immediate signs of birth defects.

The CDC stresses that parents should not let concerns about Zika discourage breastfeeding. A recent study in the British journal The Lancet found that breast milk may carry ZIKV particles, but there is currently no indication that the virus can be transmitted that way.

You can read the full CDC guidance in the August 26 edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which is available at  



Total confirmed cases*    2,964   
Pregnant women with evidence of Zika infection**     671

* Source: ArboNET, as of Sep. 7, 2016, via CDC.
** Source: U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry and Zika Active Pregnancy Surveillance System, as of Sep. 1, 2016, via CDC.   

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