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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

CDC: Zika Virus Causes Epilepsy in Infected Infants

By Gary Evans, Medical Writer

The grim spectrum of birth defects caused by Zika Virus now includes seizures and epilepsy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

"The effects Zika virus can have on a developing brain are similar to those of other congenital central nervous system infections associated with epilepsy," the CDC stated. "Seizure symptoms in infants and young children are difficult to recognize. This means that cases of Zika virus-associated epilepsy may be misdiagnosed or underreported. Caregivers’ and healthcare providers’ ability to recognize seizures and increase epilepsy monitoring and reporting is critical for early recognition and treatment. Better recognition, diagnosis, and reporting of seizures and epilepsy in infants and young children will help guide interventions to make sure families receive the right support and treatment."

The CDC looked at two birth cohorts in Brazil, finding in one case series that 24 of 48 infants with probable congenital Zika had clinical seizures. In another group of 13 infants with laboratory-confirmed Zika, seven (54%) were diagnosed with epilepsy.

For more Zika coverage, see our on-demand Webinar: The Zika Virus: Separating Fact from Fiction – A Discussion with Experts