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Zika Virus Infection Linked to Severe Damage of the Retina in Infants

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on November 11, 2016 at 8:23 AM
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 Zika Virus Infection Linked to Severe Damage of the Retina in Infants

Ccongenital Zika syndrome (CZS) refers to a variety of anomalies associated with intrauterine Zika virus infection. In a study published online by JAMA Ophthalmology, Rubens Belfort Jr. of the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and colleagues examined the affected retinal layers in infants with congenital Zika syndrome and associated retinal abnormalities using optical coherence tomography (OCT).

The study included eight infants (age range, 3-5.1 months) with CZS. Optical coherence tomographic images (a noninvasive diagnostic imaging tool that provides cross-sectional retinal images) were obtained in the affected eyes of seven infants with CZS who had undergone previous ophthalmologic examinations on March 17, 2016, and in one infant on January 1, 2016.

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An IgM antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for Zika virus was performed on the cerebrospinal fluid samples of seven of the eight infants, and other congenital infections were ruled out.

Among the eight infants included in the study, seven who underwent cerebrospinal fluid analysis for Zika virus had positive findings for IgM antibodies. Eleven of the 16 eyes (69%) of the eight infants had retinal alterations and OCT imaging was performed in nine (82%) of them.
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Optical coherence tomography was also performed in one unaffected eye. The main OCT findings included the abnormalities of severe neurosensory retinal thinning with discontinuation of the ellipsoid zone associated with choroidal thinning, and a hyperreflectivity underlying the atrophic retinal pigment epithelium.

"The use of OCT technology in this case series showed severe involvement of the neurosensory retina, including the internal and external layers, and the choroid. Although these findings provide important new information about this devastating disease, they are not unique to CZS, and therefore OCT cannot be used to differentiate CZS from other retinal diseases. Nevertheless, the OCT findings herein identified confirm the primary involvement of the retina in infants with CZS. They indicate severe visual impairment in newborns; however, further studies should confirm the accuracy of this statement by correlating the findings with visual function in the future," the authors write.

Source: Eurekalert
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