Thursday, February 11, 2016

Congenital Zika Virus Infection and Eye Disease

A study was just published in Jama Ophthalmology looking at infants with microcephaly and presumptive congenital Zika virus infection in Brazil. Twenty-nine infants with microcephaly and presumptive congenital Zika infection were identified between December 1st and December 21, 2015.

The full text of the article can be found here.

Twenty-three of the 29 mothers (79%) reported a disease compatible with Zika infection during pregnancy; the majority (18/23, 78%) reported disease occurring in the first trimester. Ocular abnormalities were found in 10 of the 29 children (35%). These abnormalities included focal pigment mottling of the retina, chorioretinal atrophy, optic nerve abnormalities, colobomas and lens subluxation.

Congenital Zika virus infection has been linked to microcephaly, and now there is evidence that it is also associated with potential vision-threatening ocular abnormalities. More research is needed to identify the true relationship between congenital Zika virus infection and ocular abnormalities as well as to identify the best strategies to avoid congenital infection altogether. For now, ophthalmologic evaluation of infants born with microcephaly in regions with Zika transmission is warranted.

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