Text Alternative of Video: Understanding the Effect of Zika Virus on Pregnancy

To view the original video, please go to http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/zika/resources/default.aspx

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NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development logo

Research for a Lifetime
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What has surprised you about Zika virus’ effect on pregnancy?
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Camera view of Dr. Catherine Y. Spong

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Catherine Y. Spong, M.D.
Acting Director, NICHD
Dr. Catherine Y.Spong: So, in general, when we see these viral infections, an impact in the first trimester is going to be the most severe. Now, that may be...
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Photograph of Zika virus particles.

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Zika virus particles (blue)
Credit: CDC
Dr. Spong: … the case in Zika. We are still waiting for data to tell us that. But there has been data…
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Ultrasound exam of a pregnant woman, zoomed on the technician’s hand moving the probe across the belly.
Dr. Spong: … that has come out that has shown that even infection in the third trimester…
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Ultrasound screen shows a moving fetus.
Dr. Spong: … which is a time period after the majority of…
Camera view of Dr. Spong. Dr. Spong: … organogenesis has occurred, so the organs forming has occurred, can have a significant impact. So it is very concerning what this virus can do during pregnancy and really understanding it is going to be absolutely essential.
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What do you aim to learn by studying pregnant women in Zika-endemic areas?
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Camera view of Dr. Spong. Dr. Spong: We need to be able to tell a woman and tell a family, what is the risk of having Zika virus on pregnancy…
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A pregnant woman is reclined in a hospital bed and talking to her doctor (female). The doctor is filling out a chart.
Dr. Spong: … and we need to be able to tell her that given the constellation of pregnancy itself, so…
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A different pregnant woman is sitting in an exam room, and her blood pressure is being taken by a nurse (female).
Dr. Spong: … if she is in her first trimester, if she is under 13 weeks, how is that different…
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Another pregnant woman is sitting in a waiting room with her husband. Both are rubbing her belly.
Dr. Spong: … than if she is 20 weeks or if she is at 25 weeks?
Camera view of Dr. Spong. Dr. Spong: Does it matter if she has had some other co-infection? Does it matter if she was symptomatic with the virus, meaning she had the rash or the fever, or if she was asymptomatic with the virus? Does that change the impact for the pregnancy itself? Does it matter how the virus was obtained, whether it was sexually transmitted or…
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Photograph of an Aedes mosquito on skin.
Dr. Spong: … from a mosquito? And then, what are the roles…
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Blurry view of people walking on a crowed sidewalk, next to vehicles moving along the street.
Dr. Spong: … of these other environmental factors? So is the environment…
Camera view of Dr. Spong. Dr. Spong: … that she’s living going to make the infection with Zika worse for her pregnancy itself?
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How will research inform the care of infants born with Zika-related complications?
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Camera view of Dr. Spong. Dr. Spong: What we know now are really just for those women who have had a symptomatic infection, and for the most part, have had a child…
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Illustration of a baby with microcephaly (left) and a baby with a typical head size (right). In the microcephaly image, a dashed line represents the boundary of a typical head size. The illustration also has the CDC logo in the corner.

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Baby with Microcephaly

Baby with Typical Head Size
Dr. Spong: … who has had microcephaly, or a small head, and…
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Zoomed view of the kicking feet of a newborn in the hospital. There is an ID tag on the baby’s foot.
Dr. Spong: … it is going to require a lot of understanding of what are the implications of that…
Camera view of Dr. Spong. Dr. Spong: … because microcephaly itself can have quite a spectrum of outcomes. And the outcome of microcephaly due to Zika virus is not yet told. We don’t know exactly what that is going to look like. So we are going to need to study and understand, what is the impact of microcephaly from Zika virus, and what are the interventions that might…
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A baby’s hand is seen grasping an adult’s finger, as the baby sucks his or her thumb in the background.
Dr. Spong: … optimize those outcomes. But it goes actually even beyond that because…
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A mom, reclined on a hospital bed, is holding her newborn infant, quickly touches her baby’s nose, and then holds her baby’s hand.
Dr. Spong: … there are going to be children born who don't have microcephaly…
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A baby is lying down, and a doctor is examining the baby’s chest with a stethoscope.
Dr. Spong: …, but still have complications likely from Zika virus, and so…
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A mom is holding her baby in her lap at the doctor’s office. The doctor (female) is holding a chart and discussing the contents with mom.
Dr. Spong: … it is important, as we do these studies, to follow not only…
Camera view of Dr. Spong. Dr. Spong: … the children who have microcephaly, but to follow all of the children and to really systematically understand what is impacted from Zika virus and then what interventions can we do to try to optimize their outcome.
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NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development logo appears against a black screen.
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