CDC Urges Follow-up Evaluation of Babies Born to Women with Zika Virus Infection during Pregnancy

PUBLISHED: Aug 14, 2018
Relevant to: Ambulatory Care, Critical Access Hospitals, Hospitals, Medical Office, Rural Health Clinics

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released guidance urging health care providers to provide follow-up evaluation of babies born to women with Zika Virus infection during pregnancy. A new CDC Vital Signs reports that about 1 in 7 babies exposed to Zika virus before birth had one or more health problems possibly caused by Zika (among 1,450 infants who were at least one year old and had any follow up reported.) Some problems were not apparent at birth and were identified as the babies grew older.

Health problems included Zika-associated birth defects such as:

  • Small head size
  • Brain damage
  • Eye damage
  • Nervous system problems, such as seizures
  • Problems with vision and hearing

The CDC recommends that all babies born to mothers with Zika virus infection during pregnancy receive a variety of screenings and care even if they appear healthy at birth. Following the recommended screenings and care for these babies is important for more complete identification of health problems and timely referral to services. Careful monitoring and evaluation of these children is essential to ensure early detection of possible disabilities and referral to early intervention services.

The CDC recommends that healthcare providers:

  • Ask every mother about possible Zika exposure during pregnancy, even if her baby appears healthy.
  • Share Zika test results with all healthcare providers of both mother and baby.
  • Provide recommended follow-up care and referrals, including early intervention services.
  • Report health information about babies and young children affected by Zika during pregnancy to your state, local, or territorial health department, even if they appear healthy.

Follow the links below for additional information.

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