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Gov't to track children exposed to Zika in the womb into their teens

Published:Thursday | November 24, 2016 | 10:26 AM

Jamaica's health ministry has revealed it plans to track children exposed to the Zika virus in the womb until they are teenagers.

The revelation follows the release of findings in a new report prepared by medical experts in the US and Brazil, which has emphasised that children born without microcephaly can develop the condition later in life.

The report says more than a dozen Brazilian babies who showed signs of congenital Zika syndrome before birth, but were born without symptoms of micrtrocephaly went on to develop brain abnormalities.

The report says of the 13 infants studied, 11 went on to develop microcephaly.

It says the findings show the importance of early neuroimaging for infants exposed to Zika virus prenatally and the need for comprehensive medical and developmental follow-up.

When asked whether the findings will change Jamaica's approach to dealing with Zika virus, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Winston De La Haye said the health ministry was previously aware that it is possible for children born without microcephaly to develop the condition later in life.

He says the ministry has plans to track babies exposed to the Zika virus into their teenage years so action can be taken if abnormalities arise.


Chief Medical Officer, Dr Winston De La Haye

There has been no report of newborns with microcephaly linked to the Zika virus in Jamaica.

The health ministry says it is closely monitoring pregnant women who have been infected with the Zika virus.