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PLoS One. 2018 Jul 26;13(7):e0201495. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0201495. eCollection 2018.

Skills attained by infants with congenital Zika syndrome: Pilot data from Brazil.

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RTI Center for Newborn Screening, Ethics, and Disability Studies, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, United States of America.
Rehabilitation Center "Menina dos Olhos", Altino Ventura Foundation (FAV), Recife, Brazil.


The recent Zika outbreak and its link to microcephaly and other birth defects in infants exposed in utero have garnered widespread international attention. Based on the severity of birth defects the extent of impairment in these infants is expected to be profound; however, virtually nothing is known regarding the developmental and behavioral sequela of congenital Zika syndrome. This pilot study collected parent-reported patterns of development and sleep in 47 infants with confirmed congenital Zika syndrome who are being followed for clinical services at the Altino Ventura Foundation (FAV) in Recife, Brazil. With assistance from clinicians at FAV, caregivers completed Brazilian Portuguese versions of the Ages and Stages Questionnaire, 3rd edition (ASQ-3) and the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire (BISQ). All infants were between 13-22 months of age at the time of the assessment. At 16 months of age, none of the children displayed age appropriate developmental skills. Most (~ 75%) mastered some communication and gross motor skills at around a 6-8-month level. Communication and gross motor skills were relative strengths for the sample, while problem-solving and fine motor skills were relative weaknesses. Sleep was noted to be a problem for around 18% of the sample. In utero exposure to the Zika virus will have lifelong consequences for affected children and their families. Understanding the developmental and behavioral trajectories of affected infants will help identify appropriate family supports to improve quality of life.

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