Emergencies preparedness, response

Assessment of infants with microcephaly in the context of Zika virus

Interim guidance


World Health Organization

Publication details

Number of pages: 2
Publication date: 4 March 2016
Languages: English
WHO reference number: WHO/ZIKV/MOC/16.3 Rev.1


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Microcephaly is a condition where a baby has a head that is smaller when compared with other babies of the same sex and age. Microcephaly is a clinical sign and not a disease. Babies born with microcephaly are at risk of developmental delay and intellectual disability and may also develop convulsions and physical disabilities including hearing and vision impairment. However, a proportion of these infants will have normal neurological development.

This document aims to provide interim guidance on standard measurement of head circumference, growth reference standards, clinical assessment and investigations required to establish a diagnosis of microcephaly and if any neurological abnormalities are associated.

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