Health officials have been working urgently to understand Zika virus and its link
to birth defects since its emergence in the Western Hemisphere in 2015. Their research
and recommendations are available in a new Red Book chapter the Academy released today ahead of the full 2018 book.
The new chapter provides information on Zika’s clinical manifestations, etiology,
epidemiology, control measures, and diagnostic tests as well as guidance on managing
infants who have been exposed. It includes guidance from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC), much of which was created with input from AAP experts and updated
“We have pediatricians around the country that might benefit … with the latest information
that we provide in a very concise fashion,” said Red Book Editor David W. Kimberlin, M.D., FAAP.
Zika is a Flavivirus like West Nile and yellow fever that was identified in 1947 in
Uganda. In 2015, it was found in the Western Hemisphere and quickly spread throughout
The virus is transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes but also can be spread through sex, blood transfusions and from a mother
to her unborn child.
Roughly 2,311 cases of Zika virus have been reported among pregnant women in U.S.
states and 4,621 have been reported in U.S. territories.
Roughly 80% of infections are believed to be asymptomatic, but Zika can cause microcephaly
and other neurologic abnormalities in infants who contract it in utero.
Readers of the new Zika chapter will notice a familiar format and the same diligence
that has gone into previous Red Book chapters, according to Dr. Kimberlin. A host of experts, including the CDC and the
AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, have reviewed the chapter.
“We do better for children across the country when we work closely together,” Dr.
Kimberlin said, “and that has certainly been the case with the response to the Zika