Zika Infection Could Cause ADHD Later in Life

36 travel related Zika cases reported by California and Florida during 2019
little baby feet in sleeper
(Zika News)

A new study reported a Zika virus infection during the later stages of gestation may harbor increased risk for developmental disorders. 

This mice-based study published on May 13, 2019, found behaviors reminiscent of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).   

Moreover, the full impact of Zika exposure on motor, social, and cognitive skills during development remains uncharacterized. 

This research published in the Journal of Neuroscience offers a step toward studying the full range of possible outcomes in individuals exposed to the Zika virus while in a mother’s womb. 

One well-known, negative Zika-infection outcome is Microcephaly. 

However, recent research has found brain and behavior abnormalities in Zika-exposed infants without Microcephaly.

Abigail Snyder-Keller, Ph.D., and colleagues at the New York State Department of Health and the University of Albany School of Public Health compare 4 divergent mouse strains and found that the effects of Zika infection differ greatly between strains, in terms of: 

  • behavioral changes
  • sex differences
  • the intracranial calcifications that develop in the brains of susceptible mice

These researchers concluded saying, ‘characterization of the neuropathological sequelae of developmental exposure to the Zika virus in different immunocompetent mouse strains provides a foundation for identifying genetic and immune factors that contribute to long-term neurobehavioral consequences in susceptible individuals.’ 

This new research is important since travel-related Zika cases have been reported in the USA during 2019. 

The states of California (17) and Florida (19) have reported new cases. 

Moreover, California has reported (13) liveborn infants with birth defects and Florida has reported (9) pregnant women infected with Zika, during 2019. 

The state of Texas has been Zika-free during 2019. 

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Additionally, the CDC says pregnant women planning to travel to countries where Zika transmission is ongoing or has been recently reported, should always seek pre-travel health advice to assess the risk of infection. 

And, clinicians who suspect Zika virus disease in patients who reside in or have recently returned from areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission should report these cases to public health officials says the CDC. 

The Society for Neuroscience is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, with nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries. 

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