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Zika Virus Can Cause Retinal Damage in Infants

Severe damage caused to retina, including internal, external layers, choroid in congenital Zika syndrome

FRIDAY, Nov. 11, 2016 (HealthDay News) — For infants with congenital Zika syndrome (CZS), Zika virus (ZIKV) can cause retinal damage, which can be seen on optical coherence tomography (OCT), according to a study published online Nov. 10 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Camila V. Ventura, M.D., from Altino Ventura Foundation in Recife, Brazil, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional consecutive case series involving eight infants with CZS. OCT images were obtained in the affected eyes of the infants. An immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was performed for ZIKV on the cerebrospinal fluid of seven of the infants.

The researchers found that the seven infants who underwent cerebrospinal fluid analysis for ZIKV had positive findings for IgM antibodies. Eleven of the 16 eyes of the eight infants had retinal alterations; OCT imaging was performed in nine of these eyes, and in one unaffected eye. In the affected eyes, the main OCT findings included discontinuation of the ellipsoid zone and hyperreflectivity underlying the retinal pigment epithelium (nine eyes); retinal thinning (eight eyes); choroidal thinning (seven eyes); and colobomatous-like excavation involving the neurosensory retina, retinal pigment epithelium, and choroid (four eyes).

“Zika virus can cause severe damage to the retina, including the internal and external layers, and the choroid,” the authors write. “The colobomatous-like finding seen in the OCT images relate to the excavated chorioretinal scar observed clinically.”

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