An international study has shown that the Zika virus may lead to delayed childhood neurodevelopment and impairment in children’s vision and hearing. The study was jointly conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences as well as other institutions.
Researchers tracked the development of 216 babies born to women, who contracted the Zika virus, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the 2015-2016 Zika epidemics. They conducted neurodevelopment questionnaires and neurological examinations and performed eye exams and hearing assessments for those children.
Results showed that about 31.5 per cent of the children aged between seven and 32 months old have seen delayed neurodevelopment or impaired vision and hearing. Also, language function was most affected, with 35 per cent of 146. However, the impact of the Zika virus on neurodevelopment has been confirmed through animal tests.
Further research will be conducted to find if early intervention may improve the neurodevelopment of foetus that is exposed to the Zika virus in the uterus, according to the report.