Zika Virus Can Cause Epilepsy In Infants, CDC Warns


The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that although Zika is known for its links with birth defects in infants, there may be other problems to which people are not aware of. The federal health agency said that the Zika virus in infants could also trigger epilepsy.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Dr. Daniel Pastula, Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp and Rosemarie Kobau said that out of at least 48 babies from Brazil with probable congenital Zika infection, around “50 percent of them reportedly had clinical seizures.” The three doctors studied the Zika virus at the CDC and co-wrote an essay on Zika’s connection with epilepsy.

Zika is an infection which is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Zika infection is most harmful for pregnant women and can cause the baby to be born with birth neurological birth defects like microcephaly. Many infants in Brazil, over the past year, have reportedly been affected with microcephaly, a condition where an infant is born with an underdeveloped brain, in association with the Zika virus.

Experts have also found out other paediatric defects and illnesses in children which are associated with the Zika virus.

Reports state that the CDC noted, besides the 48 babies observed from Brazil, the experts observed seven infants from another group of 13 Zika-exposed babies in Brazil and found out that they also suffered from epileptic fits.

The team noted that the findings of their report is not altogether surprising considering the kind of of brain abnormalities seen in Zika-affected newborns have been linked to seizures and epilepsy in the past.

The CDC authors wrote that all of the findings suggests “the need to examine how and to what extent congenital Zika virus infection and resulting brain abnormalities are associated with seizures and/or epilepsy.”

The findings of the study were published in the online journal JAMA Neurology.

Source: CBS News