Babies whose mothers are infected with the Zika virus may develop small heads months after birth, meaning the birth defect may still affect infants who don't immediately present with it, according to new research from the CDC.
Zika-related brain abnormalities can also be found in babies who don't immediately present with smaller heads, a condition known as microcephaly, according to findings from the study, published Tuesday and conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with the United States and Brazil
Researchers studied 13 Brazilian babies whose heads all appeared normal at birth but grew much more slowly than normal. Among the infants, 11 later developed microcephaly, which was accompanied by significant neurologic complications.
Among the potentially devastating complications linked to Zika, microcephaly is a condition in which an infant's skull is smaller than expected because the brain hasn't developed properly. The findings of the CDC's study reinforces the health organization's standing guidance that babies born to women who may have been infected with the Zika virus should undergo continuing medical and developmental evaluations of infants who may be infected with the Zika virus.
"CDC continues to recommend that pregnant women not travel to areas with Zika. If a pregnant woman travels to or lives in an area with active Zika virus transmission, she should talk with her healthcare provider and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika virus," the organization said in a press release announcing the study.
Most people infected with Zika never develop symptoms.