Birth Defects in Zika Related Pregnancies in the US

1
320
birth defect

An American study group analysed data from the US Zika Pregnancy Registry and found that 6% of pregnancies with possible Zika infection resulted in a fetus or infant with a birth defect, and that the risk was the same in symptomatic and asymptomatic cases.

 

Zika virus infection in pregnancy may result in congenital malformations, such as microcephaly and other brain deformities. However, the magnitude of risk is not yet known. Furthermore, it is not clear yet, if the risk of malformations is higher in symptomatic than in asymptomatic Zika cases, and how the trimester of exposure affects the outcome.

In a new article, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a research group analysed data from the US Zika Pregnancy Registry (USZPR) between 2016 January and September. USZPR was established to monitor the pregnancy outcomes of cases with detected Zika infection. 442 pregnant women were included in this study from the continental US and Hawaii, who or whose fetuses or infants had laboratory evidence of possible Zika infection. The gestational timing was based on the onset of symptoms or, in asymptomatic cases, the trimester of exposure. Out of 442 cases, 271 pregnant were asymptomatic, 167 had symptoms related to Zika, and symptoms were missing in 4 cases. 26 fetuses or infant (6%) had birth defects, 22 had a brain anomaly, while 4 had other malformations. Among the 22 cases, where the brain was affected, 14 had microcephaly and other brain abnormalities together, 4 had only microcephaly, while 4 had only other brain malformations. Among the 4 cases, where brain abnormalities were not detected, 2 had encephalocele (a protrusion of the brain), 1 had eye and 1 had hearing anomalies. The risk of abnormalities was the same in both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases (6%). In cases where pregnant women were only exposed in the first trimester, 11% had birth defects, while in cases where exposure took place in multiple trimesters including the first trimester, 7% of the fetuses or infants presented with birth defects. However, exposure in only the second trimester did not result in birth defects.




Out of 442 cases, 271 pregnant were asymptomatic, 167 had symptoms related to Zika, and symptoms were missing in 4 cases. 26 fetuses or infant (6%) had birth defects, 22 had a brain anomaly, while 4 had other malformations. Among the 22 cases, where the brain was affected, 14 had microcephaly and other brain abnormalities together, 4 had only microcephaly, while 4 had only other brain malformations. Among the 4 cases, where brain abnormalities were not detected, 2 had encephalocele (a protrusion of the brain), 1 had eye and 1 had hearing anomalies. The risk of abnormalities was the same in both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases (6%). In cases where pregnant women were only exposed in the first trimester, 11% had birth defects, while in cases where exposure took place in multiple trimesters including the first trimester, 7% of the fetuses or infants presented with birth defects. However, exposure in only the second trimester did not result in birth defects.

In conclusion, 6% of pregnant women with possible Zika infection had a fetus or infant with birth defects, mostly brain abnormalities, and the proportion was the same in symptomatic and asymptomatic cases. These findings support the importance of the screening of exposed pregnant women and emphasize the need for pregnant women to avoid traveling to Zika-affected territories.

 

 

 

Written By: Dr. Fanni R. Eros




1 COMMENT

  1. There is still a chance that if you are infected with zika that the child may have birth defects. I do not want to carry that burden and when I found out that I got pregnant, thanks to conceiveeasy, I cleaned our surroundings and always put bug lotion when I go out.

Comments are closed.