As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to track pregnant women with Zika infections, the organization has said that due to the risks, children – and infants especially – must be monitored closely after confirmed exposure for developmental and neurological issues.
A recent report indicates that children affected with Zika will need multidisciplinary care, particularly since the implications of the illness may not be apparent for some time.
“The primary pediatrician will play a critical role in following a Zika-exposed infant or child, not only to closely monitor growth and development, but to coordinate care with specialists such as pediatric ophthalmologists, ear, nose and throat physicians, and neurologists,” says Dr. Vandana Bhide, an internist and pediatrician at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville, Florida.
“Other important roles of the pediatrician include ensuring timely vaccinations and blood tests for children as well as appropriate referrals to intensive physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy for those youngsters found to have motor and intellectual developmental delays,” she adds.
Pediatricians also can be a valuable support resource for families who suddenly find themselves caring for a special needs child.