U.S. CDC calls for enhanced surveillance of Zika-related epilepsy

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-18 03:56:19|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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WASHINGTON, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Health officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday called for enhanced surveillance of Zika-related seizures and epilepsy among babies born to mothers infected with the virus during pregnancy.

The U.S. health agency made this call in a commentary published by the U.S. JAMA Neurology in response to two recent studies in Brazil, which show that seizures and epilepsy are being reported in some infants with congenital Zika virus infection.

"The effects Zika virus can have on a developing brain are similar to those of other congenital central nervous system infections associated with epilepsy," the U.S. CDC said in a statement.

"Seizure symptoms in infants and young children are difficult to recognize. This means that cases of Zika virus-associated epilepsy may be misdiagnosed or underreported," it said.

Epilepsy is associated with considerable morbidity and costs, and early recognition and treatment of epilepsy may mitigate some adverse outcomes associated with developmental delay, according to the commentary coauthored by researchers from the CDC and the University of Colorado.

"Better recognition, diagnosis, and reporting of seizures and epilepsy in infants and young children will help guide interventions to make sure families receive the right support and treatment," the CDC said.

Zika is mainly transmitted via the bite of infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes but also can be transmitted sexually.

Zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious damage to the brain and microcephaly in developing fetuses.

Currently, there is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.