Comprehensive Zika Response for Mothers & Children

Preparedness & Action

By Miller School of Medicine News
Department of Pediatrics

Zika is a virus transmitted primarily through mosquitoes, which has been linked to congenital Zika syndrome and Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Zika infection can cause a mild flu-like syndrome with fever, joint pain, conjunctivitis and rash. However, most people (80%) infected with Zika will have no symptoms at all. As Zika arrived in the Western Hemisphere only recently, there is much we do not yet understand about the disease—including all there is to know about infectious periods and potential outcomes in children and in those with asymptomatic infections.

Zika’s most concerning effects are its ability to cause congenital Zika syndrome and developmental sequelae in the unborn. Not all pregnant women exposed to Zika will pass the virus to their infants, but some will. Some of these infants may experience consequences including alterations in their brain growth, hearing loss, the development of their vision, hormonal function and other development. Because the virus can impact the developing fetus, a pregnant woman and her infant should be monitored before and after delivery.

The University of Miami has assembled a comprehensive multidisciplinary team, which includes obstetrics and pediatrics to provide the most expert care possible to families who may need assistance. A year after the 2016 outbreak, the team is also heavily engaged in clinical research initiatives currently focused on follow-up care and extensive screening of infants born to moms who tested positive for Zika. UM Zika experts have also stressed prevention for pregnant women, men and children as a way to combat the spread of the virus.

UM’s comprehensive Zika Response Team includes expertise in pediatric infectious diseases, high-risk obstetrical care, developmental pediatrics, pediatric audiology, pediatric ophthalmology, pediatric endocrinology, and pediatric neurology, and coordinates with support programs such as Early Steps. Under the co-direction of pediatrician Dr. Ivan Gonzalez and obstetrician Dr. Christine Curry, UM’s comprehensive Zika Response Team focuses on care first—for each family is welcoming and celebrating a new baby, and we are, too.

For more information, please contact Dr. Ivan Gonzalez:

UM’s Zika Response Team:

Ivan Gonzalez, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Christine Curry, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Other Team Members:

Charles Bauer, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Associate Director of Neonatology, and Director, Miami-Dade North Early Steps
Gary Berkovitz, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Director, Pediatric Endocrinology
Audina Berrocal, M.D., Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology
Jeffrey Brosco, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Director, Mailman Center for Child Development
Robert C. Fifer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director, Pediatric Audiology & Speech Pathology
Roberto Lopez-Alberola, M.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology & Pediatrics, and Director, Pediatric Neurology
Gaurav Saigal, M.D., Professor of Diagnostic Radiology and Director, Pediatric Radiology & Neuroradiology
Ramzi Younis, M.D.,Professor and Chief of Pediatric Otolaryngology
Emmalee S. Bandstra, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology

For additional information, see:

For Appointments and Questions:

• Pediatrics: Call 305-243-5437 and ask for Dr. Ivan Gonzalez or the Zika Clinic
• Obstetrics and Gynecology: Call 305-243-4530 and ask for Dr. Christine Curry

To speak to the Zika Response Team directly, email or call Dr. Ivan Gonzalez: 305-243-2700


Prevention is possible for the vast majority of people. Pregnant women and children over 2 months should take the same precautions as all other people. When going outside, wear clothing with long sleeves and pants, and use approved insect repellent. Children 2 months and younger should be kept away from mosquitoes, either in air conditioning or behind screens and netting. Please be sure that the areas around your home do not have containers which collect water. Cover trash cans or turn them upside down. The Zika virus can also be spread through sexual activity. Prevent sexual transmission by using condoms and other barrier protection. For more information, see:

What is the best insect repellent for children?

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