Zika and Pregnancy
A pregnant woman can pass the Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth. Zika is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Microcephaly is a rare neurological condition in which an infant’s head is significantly smaller than the heads of other children of the same age and sex. Sometimes detected at birth, microcephaly usually is the result of the brain developing abnormally in the womb or not growing as it should after birth.
In addition to microcephaly, other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth, such as eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired growth. Although Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects and has been linked with these other problems in infants, there is more to learn. Researchers are collecting data to better understand the extent Zika virus’ impact on mothers and their children.
Based on the available evidence, the CDC thinks that Zika virus infection in a woman who is not pregnant would not pose a risk for birth defects in future pregnancies after the virus has cleared from her blood. From what the CDC knows about similar infections, once a person has been infected with Zika virus, he or she is likely to be protected from a future Zika infection.