Children Born With Congenital Zika Syndrome Display Atypical Gross Motor Development and a Higher Risk for Cerebral Palsy

J Child Neurol. 2019 Feb;34(2):81-85. doi: 10.1177/0883073818811234. Epub 2018 Nov 13.


Importance: Congenital Zika syndrome virus infection is said to interfere in children's development.

Objective: evaluate gross motor trajectories and the frequency of cerebral palsy in children with congenital Zika syndrome.

Design: Cohort study applying the Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS) and the Bayley III Scales in infants from 6 to 18 months of age.

Setting: The SARAH network, Rio de Janeiro.

Participants: Thirty-nine infants whose diagnoses were established through clinical history, serology tests, and neuroimaging findings. Main outcomes and measures: Congenital Zika syndrome is associated with severe motor delays and is a risk factor to the diagnosis of cerebral palsy.

Results: The Alberta Infant Motor Scale mean raw score at 6 months was 9.74 (SD 4.80) or equivalent to 2 to 3 months of motor developmental age. At the age of 12 months, 14.13 (SD 11.90), corresponding to 3 to 4 months of motor development age; the Bayley III Scales results correlated to the Alberta Infant Motor Scale ( P < .001) at this age. At 18 months, 15.77 (SD 13.80) or a motor development equivalent to 4 to 5 months of age. Thirty-five of 39 children (89.7%) met criteria for the diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Conclusions and relevance: Gross motor development marginally progresses from 6 to 18 months of age. These individuals also displayed a high frequency of cerebral palsy.

Keywords: cerebral palsy; congenital Zika syndrome; gross motor development.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / etiology
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Zika Virus Infection / complications
  • Zika Virus Infection / physiopathology*