Association of Zika Virus Exposure in Utero with Ocular Phenotypes in a Group of Newborns in Puerto Rico Exposure with ocular phenotypes in newborns in Puerto Rico

Leticia Gely-Rojas, Raúl Pérez, Lourdes García-Fragoso, Inés García-García


Objective: After the outbreak in January 2016, researchers in Brazil reported the first cases of ophthalmic abnormalities in infants with microcephaly and presumed Zika virus (ZIKV) intrauterine infection. Screening for ocular lesions in all newborns exposed to ZIKV prenatally has been emphasized because of a chorioretinal macular scar found in a number normocephalic patient exposed to ZIKV. Methods: A retrospective review of the medical records of infants born to mothers found to be ZIKV-positive during their pregnancies (January 2016–July 2017) was performed. We included all newborns and infants admitted to the NICU and/or receiving ambulatory care at the high-risk clinics at the University Pediatric Hospital, San Juan, Puerto Rico. The creation of this database was approved by the IRB of the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus. Results: Records from 234 newborns born to Zika-positive mothers were identified. The ophthalmic evaluations of 95 patients were available. Sixty-three of them had normal findings (66%). Twelve of the 95 patients had microcephaly (12.6% of the cohort). Of the microcephalic group, half had normal ophthalmological findings. Of the normocephalic group (83/95), almost 31% had ocular findings: a small optic nerve in 3%, a double-ring sign in 10%, macular stippling in 8%, mottling in 4%, an oval optic nerve in 2%, a tilted nerve in 1%, and blunted foveal reflex in 1%. Conclusion: We report herein ZIKV associated ophthalmologic findings, similar to those published, in 34% of the infants with suspected/confirmed ZIKV fetal exposure. These data underline the importance of ocular examination in patients with suspected congenital Zika but without other findings on physical exam.


macular stippling, double-ring sign, microcephaly, normo-cephalic

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