Does Intra-Uterine Exposure to the Zika Virus Increase Risks of Cognitive Delay at Preschool Ages? Findings from a Zika-Exposed Cohort from Grenada, West Indies

Michelle Fernandes, Roberta Evans, Mira Cheng, Barbara Landon, Trevor Noël, Calum Macpherson, Nikita Cudjoe, Kemi S. Burgen, Randall Waechter, A. Desiree LaBeaud, Karen Blackmon

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Maternal infection with Zika virus (ZIKV) is associated with a distinct pattern of birth defects, known as congenital Zika syndrome (CZS). In ZIKV-exposed children without CZS, it is often unclear whether they were protected from in utero infection and neurotropism. Early neurodevelopmental assessment is essential for detecting neurodevelopmental delays (NDDs) and prioritizing at-risk children for early intervention. We compared neurodevelopmental outcomes between ZIKV-exposed and unexposed children at 1, 3 and 4 years to assess exposure-associated NDD risk. A total of 384 mother–child dyads were enrolled during a period of active ZIKV transmission (2016–2017) in Grenada, West Indies. Exposure status was based on laboratory assessment of prenatal and postnatal maternal serum. Neurodevelopment was assessed using the Oxford Neurodevelopment Assessment, the NEPSY® Second Edition and Cardiff Vision Tests, at 12 (n = 66), 36 (n = 58) and 48 (n = 59) months, respectively. There were no differences in NDD rates or vision scores between ZIKV-exposed and unexposed children. Rates of microcephaly at birth (0.88% vs. 0.83%, p = 0.81), and childhood stunting and wasting did not differ between groups. Our results show that Grenadian ZIKV-exposed children, the majority of whom were without microcephaly, had similar neurodevelopmental outcomes to unexposed controls up to at least an age of 4 years.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1290
JournalViruses
Volume15
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Zika virus
  • cognition
  • executive function
  • intra-uterine Zika virus exposure
  • neurodevelopment
  • neurodevelopmental profiles
  • normocephaly
  • vision

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