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May 28, 2024

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Zika Update: Microcephaly Diagnosis Can Come Later Than at Birth

The findings of a study on 13 Brazilian babies recently published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found that some babies NOT born with unusually small heads (the hallmark of brain damage resulting from the Zika virus) could develop the condition — microcephaly — as they grow older. The new study followed 13 babies from birth whose head sizes were not small enough to receive a diagnosis of microcephaly; brain scans done after birth or weeks later showed significant neurological damage to the babies’ brains.
    “There are some areas of great deficiency in the babies,” said Dr. Cynthia Moore, the director of the division of congenital and developmental disorders for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and an author of the new study. 
    However, because of the study results, many doctors believe that there will be different groups of babies — some not diagnosed at birth — who will develop abnormalities as they get older in childhood due to Zika.
    In six of the 13 babies used in the study, mothers reported a rash — a Zika symptom — between the second and fifth month of pregnanc, however, since there are no symptoms in 80 percent of cases of Zika infection, it’s difficult to know when mothers are infected.
    There are currently 4,091 confirmed Zika cases in the continental U.S., according to the CDC, 58 of them in Tennessee. Learn more about Zika in Tennessee here.

About the Author

Susan Swindell Day, Editor

Susan Swindell Day is the editor in chief of Nashville Parent and the mom of four amazing kids.