On Friday, July 15th, CRECE and PROTECT received funding from the NIEHS to study the effect Zika has in Puerto Rico on pregnant women and their babies. This funding is part of the Zika Infants and Pregnancy (ZIP) study, which aims to enroll 10,000 women from 5 different countries in a study to assess the outcomes of Zika infection during pregnancy. The ZIP team in Puerto Rico will recruit 900 to 1,000 women early in their pregnancies (before 14 weeks gestation) to be followed until their babies are born. The team will compare the pregnancy outcomes of women infected by the virus to those of women who are not infected or had Zika prior to pregnancy.
The ZIP study will assess rates of miscarriage, preterm birth, brain abnormalities that may result in microcephaly, and other possible outcomes, as well as overall child development. The children will be followed for at least one year after birth at the CRECE/PROTECT clinic. PROTECT will also investigate whether the combination of environmental factors and Zika infections has an impact on birth outcomes and child development. The multidisciplinary research projects under CRECE and PROTECT are uniquely positioned to examine the interplay of these multiple environmental factors.
Participants will have monthly follow-up appointments throughout their pregnancies, and will also be asked to submit biweekly urine samples that will be analyzed for the presence of the Zika virus.
PROTECT is the first Superfund center to begin work on the ZIP study. Since January, when the Zika virus arrived in Puerto Rico, CRECE and PROTECT have been involved in raising awareness of the virus and the best practices for avoiding exposure. The teams have also been working on providing participants with mosquito nets and CDC Zika kits. Visit our News page to learn more.