Lab-confirmed prenatal exposure to Zika is linked to cardiac defects in infants

May 16, 2018

For the first time, researchers have found evidence that infants with laboratory confirmation of Zika exposure before birth have a higher prevalence of major cardiac defects compared to infants who were not exposed to the mosquito-borne virus.

Researchers confirmed in utero exposure to the Zika virus in 97 children through tests that detected the virus while their mothers were pregnant or when the infants tested positive for the virus after birth. In 23 other infants, the mothers tested positive for Zika while pregnant and the infants were found to have the virus after birth.

The researchers found that 48 babies (or 40 percent) had cardiac abnormalities. Of those, 13 infants (10.8 percent) had major cardiac defects that impacted the heart structure. None of the defects, however, required immediate surgical or medical treatment.

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