Zika virus and hearing loss in infants could be linked, according to new research released by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC recently issued updated guidance for healthcare providers who are caring for infants born to mothers who may have been infected by the Zika virus during pregnancy.
Zika Virus, spread mostly through mosquito bites, can be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus. While symptoms are often mild in adults, a child who receives the infection in the womb is at risk for developing microcephaly, a brain defect. New CDC guidance also states that infants born with congenital infections “can develop a range of clinical manifestations, including hearing loss.” In a study of 69 babies born with Zika, six percent showed hearing loss.
The CDC recommends that infants born to mothers who have tested positive for Zika receive a hearing assessment by auditory brainstem response (ABR) in their first month of life.
The guidance states “infants with abnormalities on initial hearing screen should be referred to an audiologist for a complete evaluation. Later development of hearing loss in infants without other clinical findings has been observed in other congenital infections.”Read the full CDC report here