Understanding the multidimensional neurodevelopmental outcomes in children after congenital Zika virus exposure

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Pediatric research




Since 2016, international research groups have focused on assessing outcomes of children with in utero Zika virus (ZIKV) exposure. While the more severe outcomes of congenital Zika syndrome (CZS) occur in up to 10% of children with antenatal exposure, early findings among ZIKV-exposed children without CZS ages 0-5 years suggest that they may also have differences in multiple domains of neurodevelopment. Thus, longitudinal follow-up of all children with antenatal ZIKV exposure has been recommended. This review presents a summary of neurodevelopmental phenotypes of infants and children following antenatal ZIKV exposure. We present a multidimensional framework to understand child neurodevelopment from an interdisciplinary and whole-child perspective (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health model) and multi-domain ZIKV Outcome Toolboxes. The toolboxes are for clinicians, researchers, child educators, and others to implement longitudinal multi-domain neurodevelopmental assessments between ages 0-12 years. Recent innovations in telehealth and neuroimaging can help evaluate outcomes in ZIKV exposed children. The objective is to describe the multiple facets of neurodevelopmental focused care that can support the health, function, and well-being of children with antenatal ZIKV exposure. The research and clinical follow-up strategies are applicable to ZIKV and other congenital infectious or environmental exposures that can impact child neurodevelopment. IMPACT: International longitudinal cohort studies have revealed a range of differences in neurodevelopment among children with antenatal Zika virus (ZIKV) exposure. A multidimensional and whole-child framework is necessary to understand the neurodevelopment of children with antenatal ZIKV exposure in relation to family life, community participation, and environment. Multi-domain toolboxes that utilize parent questionnaires and child evaluations are presented. These toolboxes can be used internationally alongside telehealth, brain imaging, and other innovations to improve understanding of child outcomes.