Quick Note: Developmental pediatricians offer long-range perspective on Zika

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The ongoing Zika virus outbreak has shined a spotlight on microcephaly. But Boston Children’s Hospital’s developmental/behavioral experts Marie Reilly, MD, and Leonard Rappaport, MD, note that Zika isn’t the first virus to cause birth defects.

In an article published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, they offer a long-range perspective on challenges children infected with Zika prenatally may face. 

These challenges include:

  • Zika virus is one in a long line of agents that can have lasting effects on the brain. Others include rubella, HIV, Toxoplasma, Treponema , varicella and cytomegalovirus.
  • Beyond microcephaly, Zika exposure can cause a variety of brain defects, some not visually apparent (even on MRI) but that nonetheless impair children’s neurologic functioning.

Reilly and Rappaport, the article’s authors, make recommendations to pediatricians, including getting travel histories from parents, and call for multidisciplinary, coordinated care of these children.

Read the paper published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.