Hearing Loss in Infants with Microcephaly and Evidence of Congenital Zika Virus Infection - Brazil, November 2015-May 2016

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016 Sep 2;65(34):917-9. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6534e3.


Congenital infection with Zika virus causes microcephaly and other brain abnormalities (1). Hearing loss associated with other congenital viral infections is well described; however, little is known about hearing loss in infants with congenital Zika virus infection. A retrospective assessment of a series of 70 infants aged 0-10 months with microcephaly and laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection was conducted by the Hospital Agamenon Magalhães in Brazil and partners. The infants were enrolled during November 2015-May 2016 and had screening and diagnostic hearing tests. Five (7%) infants had sensorineural hearing loss, all of whom had severe microcephaly; however, one child was tested after receiving treatment with an ototoxic antibiotic. If this child is excluded, the prevalence of sensorineural hearing loss was 5.8% (four of 69), which is similar to that seen in association with other congenital viral infections. Additional information is needed to understand the prevalence and spectrum of hearing loss in children with congenital Zika virus infection; all infants born to women with evidence of Zika virus infection during pregnancy should have their hearing tested, including infants who appear normal at birth.

MeSH terms

  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / epidemiology*
  • Hearing Loss / virology
  • Hearing Tests
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical*
  • Male
  • Microcephaly / epidemiology*
  • Microcephaly / virology
  • Neonatal Screening
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Zika Virus / isolation & purification
  • Zika Virus Infection / congenital*
  • Zika Virus Infection / diagnosis
  • Zika Virus Infection / epidemiology
  • Zika Virus Infection / transmission