Sight-threatening abnormalities for one in five babies exposed to Zika

Researchers have investigated the ocular effects of the mosquito-borne virus


One in five infants born to mothers who contracted the Zika virus had sight-threatening eye abnormalities, new research shows.

The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, involved the examination of 112 infants at the Fernandes Figueira Institute, a referral center for high-risk pregnancies and infectious diseases in children in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

All of the babies were born to mothers who contracted Zika during their preganancy.

Researchers found that 21.4% of the infants had sight-threatening eye abnormalities, including optic nerve and retinal irregularities.

The authors reports that 10 infants with eye abnormalities did not have microcephaly, and eight did not have any central nervous system findings.

“All infants with potential maternal Zika virus exposure at any time during pregnancy should undergo screening eye examinations regardless of the presence or absence of central nervous system abnormalities,” they concluded.