As the Zika virus continues to proliferate, generating alarm among the international community, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released new guidelines for pediatricians and other medical professionals who are treating infants diagnosed with Zika virus.
The Zika virus is spread primarily through infected mosquitoes. It drew international attention and concern when children born with congenital Zika virus began to develop serious conditions such as microcephaly, hearing, and vision problems. The U.S. recently declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico, as the number of infected persons continues to grow. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 10,690 people in Puerto Rico have become infected with Zika virus, 1,035 of whom are pregnant women.
When medical experts from across the U.S. met in July, they developed the recent report, entitled “Update: Interim Guidance for the Evaluation and Management of Infants with Possible Congenital Zika Virus Infection – United States, August 2016,” which was published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The guidelines in the new report emphasize developmental screening, early intervention, and consistent monitoring for infants whose mothers were infected with Zika virus.
According to the CDC’s guidance, pediatricians and medical professionals should perform a comprehensive physical exam, neurologic assessment, postnatal cranial ultrasound, standard hearing screen, and Zika testing. They also suggest that physicians conduct a full eye exam and hearing assessment through auditory brain-stem response testing before 1 month of age, regardless of whether abnormalities are apparent at birth. The CDC also indicates the need for continual monitoring of infants who do not have observable abnormalities, because symptoms such as seizures and vision or hearing problems may manifest later in life.
As Zika virus continues to present as a dangerous problem, pediatricians and other health care professionals must abide by the CDC guidelines and take appropriate measures as it relates to diagnosis and treatment for affected infants. Failure to do so may provide grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
At Fronzuto Law Group, our medical malpractice attorneys aggressively advocate for victims and families who have suffered harm due to medical negligence. With offices in New Jersey and New York, we provide representation in the tri-state area and across the United States. To discuss your potential claim, contact us today. Initial consultations are always provided free of charge.
For additional information pertaining to this issue, access the following article: CDC releases new guidance on caring for infants with congenital Zika