MMWR – A comprehensive description of the health and development of children aged 19-24 months who were born with microcephaly during the 2015 Zika virus outbreak- Brazil, 2017

On December 14, CDC released its first report on the severe and long-term health and developmental challenges of children of congenital Zika virus in children with microcephaly in northeastern Brazil. These children are part of the Zika Outcomes and Development in Infants and Children (ZODIAC) investigation, a collaborative study with the Brazilian Ministry of Health of infants 19-24 months old who had laboratory evidence of Zika virus at birth.

Although previous publications described the health effects in infants born with microcephaly during the Zika outbreak, this is the first investigation to characterize the health and development of these children as they age. The findings give a more complete picture of the lifelong limitations that will affect children born with microcephaly during the Zika outbreaks in Brazil and elsewhere.

When assessed by providers around 2 years old, children with Zika-related microcephaly had challenges with sitting independently, feeding, and sleeping, and experienced seizures and hearing and vision problems, and most of the children in the investigation faced challenges in multiple developmental areas. These findings will assist health care providers and facilities anticipate the complex and long-term needs of these children as they age and prepare systems to meet the care needs along their lifespan.

You can find the full report on CDC’s website. The agency will continue to publish findings from the ZODIAC and other ongoing Zika-related studies in 2018, which we will share with you as they become available.