September 25, 2018
Chapel Hill, NC – Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and collaborators in Nicaragua have been given a five-year, $2.7 million R01 award from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to better understand the epidemiology of Zika virus in pregnancy and the impact the virus has on infant neurodevelopment.
Zika, a mosquito-borne infection, is also transmitted in utero from mother to child. Zika is the only flavivirus known to cause birth defects, including microcephaly. More than 1,000 cases of Zika infection have been documented in Nicaragua in the past year.
“We do not have a lot of data about Zika virus because it is an emerging infection,” said Elizabeth Stringer, M.D., M.Sc., the study’s principal investigator and an associate professor of maternal and fetal medicine in the UNC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “During this study, we will follow up with infants exposed to Zika in Léon and Managua, Nicaragua.”