Monday, January 3, 2022
A few years before COVID-19 became the current public health emergency of international concern, the Zika virus swept through Latin America. Dramatic photos of babies born with small heads filled newspapers. Scientists didn't understand why it was happening or how common it was — or what prenatal Zika exposure might mean for these children as they grew older. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,000 babies were born to women in the U.S. who had Zika during their pregnancies in 2016.
Now that some years have passed, more is becoming clear about Zika and its impact on children. Researchers have been assessing groups of these children as they get older and comparing them to children with no exposure to Zika.
About a year after the emergency was declared, researchers found that in the U.S., about 94% of babies born to women infected with Zika appeared to be normal at birth with no signs of microcephaly.
Then last year, Dr. Sarah Mulkey, a child neurologist in the Prenatal Pediatrics Institute at Children's National, published a study that found even among these babies that appeared normal at birth, there did seem to be some developmental differences.
Read more here.