Zika virus: A public health perspective

Nahida Chakhtoura, Rohan Hazra, Catherine Y. Spong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Zika virus' impact on pregnancy became widely known in 2015 with a dramatic increase in the number of babies born with microcephaly in Recife, Brazil. A mosquito-borne virus resulting in congenital anomalies is unique, and Zika's ability to cause neurological defects on a large scale was a grim reminder of the Rubella epidemic in the 1950s. Over the past 2 years, studies have provided insight on how Zika virus (ZIKV) infects cells and causes disease, but much remains unknown about the long-Term risks of Zika exposure on infant growth and development. Recent findings The impact of ZIKV on pregnancy extends beyond microcephaly and may only first be identified in infancy. The virus has a long latency in semen and can be transmitted sexually. Transplacental passage occurs through infection of Hofbauer cells in the trophoblast. A major difficulty in management of ZIKV disease is that most infections are asymptomatic and the diagnostic methods are not ideal, making both diagnosis and ascertainment of timing of infection problematic. Several different types of vaccines are in development. Large studies are ongoing to determine the risk and total spectrum of anomalies based on the timing of infection and other environmental exposures. Summary This review will summarize the epidemic, what we have learned, what we hope to learn, and current recommendations for care and management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-122
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Zika virus
  • anomaly
  • child
  • microcephaly
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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