New research published in The Lancet says that babies born to mothers infected with the Zika virus had significantly higher rates of birth defects compared with babies born without the virus.
The research, which was published on Wednesday, was conducted in collaboration with the University of Melbourne and the University Hospital in Brisbane, Australia.
The study included babies born in five hospitals in the United Kingdom and the United States, and their mothers.
It found that babies who were born to Zika-positive mothers had significantly lower rates of head and neck defects compared to babies born not to Zika but to other risk factors, such as birth weight and gestational age.
In addition, the researchers found that the Zika-infected mothers had a much higher risk of developing certain types of birth complications such as neural tube defects and congenital heart defects.
The researchers, led by Dr. David G. Miller, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University Health Institute, also found that birth defects were significantly more common in babies born with congenital anomalies and other birth defects.
Miller said that the findings are significant, given that Zika has been linked to birth defects in newborns and babies with birth defects have been reported in Australia and elsewhere.
He said that Zika virus causes microcephaly, a condition where babies are born with unusually small heads and heads are smaller than normal.
The new findings have been published in the Lancet.
“We know there are risks for the developing brain, including neural tube development, brain damage and birth defects,” Miller said.
“This is the first study to show that these risks are substantially greater in babies with congenitally-informed Zika virus than not to have Zika.”
Miller said the research is important for people who are concerned about the birth defects linked to Zika, because it provides information on how Zika is affecting babies’ development.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that there is no evidence that Zika infection increases the risk of microcepsy.
However, the CDC has issued a warning to pregnant women, saying that pregnant women should avoid travel to areas where Zika virus is suspected to be circulating, as Zika infection could increase risk for birth defects, such the rare birth defect microceps.