High level of heart defects in babies with Zika

Echocardiographic evaluation of a group of Brazilian babies with Zika-related birth defects revealed three times the expected rate of congenital heart disease (CHD), but only one baby showed symptoms and most had minor septal defects that did not appear. were not hemodynamically significant.

The study is the first time coronary artery disease has been evaluated in infants with congenital Zika infections, and so far there have been no reports of autopsy findings suggesting a link, but d Other flaviviruses such as dengue have been associated with myocarditis and pericarditis.

Although minor flaws, follow-up needed

Researchers from the city of Recife in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco evaluated 103 babies with suspected congenital Zika infections from September 2015 to March 2016. They published their results yesterday in Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.

All infants met the Brazil Ministry of Health case definition, and all had microcephaly and positive cranial imaging findings. Zika Immunoglobulin M antibodies were found in the cerebrospinal fluid of 23 infants; the test was not available during the assessment for others. Blood tests ruled out other infections such as rubella and cytomegalovirus.

Echocardiograms suggested coronary artery disease in 14 (13.5%) of 103 infants. Tests considered normal included 45 with persistent foramen ovale and 16 with minimally patent ductus arteriosus.

Almost all infants had minimal septal defects, with a single case involving dyspnea and a large ventral membranous septal defect. All of the atrial septal defects were the size doctors expect to shrink or close during follow-up.

The researchers said it was unclear whether infants affected by Zika had the same rates of spontaneous regression as unaffected babies. They stressed that their results are preliminary and based on a small sample size.

Babies will be followed up with a repeat echocardiogram at 1 year to see if the small defects they saw have spontaneously improved.

Zika babies in the US, diagnostic funding, drug study

  • Two more babies were born in the United States with birth defects linked to Zika, bringing the total to 58, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced yesterday. The number of Zika-related pregnancy losses remained at seven. So far, 1,367 women on the CDC’s Zika Pregnancy Registry have given birth.
  • A research team based at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill has received a $3.2 million contract from the CDC to develop better serology tests to detect past exposure to the Zika virus, the report said. ‘UNC yesterday in a press release. The group also includes scientists from Duke University, the University of Vermont and the University of Nicaragua.
  • Mice experimentally infected with the Zika virus and treated with the hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir reduced deaths and short- and long-term problems, a study by a group from Brazil’s Fiocruz Institute has found. yesterday on bioRxiv, a preprint web portal for scientific studies. The drug was associated with reduced viral loads and reduced spread to other areas of the body, and follow-up showed that the treatment appeared to prevent memory loss in the animals.

See also:

April 20 PLoS One abstract

April 20 CDC Zika Pregnancy Registry Results Update

April 20 UNC press release

April 20 bioRxiv summary