Emerging Infectious Diseases, August 2017

Mariana C. Leal, Vanessa van der Linden, Thiago P. Bezerra, Luciana de Valois, Adriana C.G. Borges, Margarida M.C. Antunes, Kátia G. Brandt, Catharina X. Moura, Laura C. Rodrigues, Coeli R. Ximenes


We summarize the characteristics of dysphagia in 9 infants in Brazil with microcephaly caused by congenital Zika virus infection. The Schedule for Oral Motor Assessment, fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing, and the videofluoroscopic swallowing study were used as noninstrumental and instrumental assessments. All infants had a degree of neurologic damage and showed abnormalities in the oral phase. Of the 9 infants, 8 lacked oral and upper respiratory tract sensitivity, leading to delays in initiation of the pharyngeal phase of swallowing. Those delays, combined with marked oral dysfunction, increased the risk for aspiration of food, particularly liquid foods. Dysphagia resulting from congenital Zika virus syndrome microcephaly can develop in infants >3 months of age and is severe.

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