Background: The European Commission (EC) Horizon 2020 (H2020)-funded ZIKAlliance Consortium designed a multicentre study including pregnant women (PW), children (CH) and natural history (NH) cohorts. Clinical sites were selected over a wide geographic range within Latin America and the Caribbean, taking into account the dynamic course of the ZIKV epidemic. Methods: Recruitment to the PW cohort will take place in antenatal care clinics. PW will be enrolled regardless of symptoms and followed over the course of pregnancy, approximately every 4 weeks. PW will be revisited at delivery (or after miscarriage/abortion) to assess birth outcomes, including microcephaly and other congenital abnormalities according to the evolving definition of congenital Zika syndrome (CZS). After birth, children will be followed for 2 years in the CH cohort. Follow-up visits are scheduled at ages 1-3, 4-6, 12, and 24 months to assess neurocognitive and developmental milestones. In addition, a NH cohort for the characterization of symptomatic rash/fever illness was designed, including follow-up to capture persisting health problems. Blood, urine, and other biological materials will be collected, and tested for ZIKV and other relevant arboviral diseases (dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever) using RT-PCR or serological methods. A virtual, decentralized biobank will be created. Reciprocal clinical monitoring has been established between partner sites. Substudies of ZIKV seroprevalence, transmission clustering, disabilities and health economics, viral kinetics, the potential role of antibody enhancement, and co-infections will be linked to the cohort studies. Discussion: Results of these large cohort studies will provide better risk estimates for birth defects and other developmental abnormalities associated with ZIKV infection including possible co-factors for the variability of risk estimates between other countries and regions. Additional outcomes include incidence and transmission estimates of ZIKV during and after pregnancy, characterization of short and long-term clinical course following infection and viral kinetics of ZIKV. Study registrations: NCT03188731 (PW cohort), June 15, 2017; NCT03393286 (CH cohort), January 8, 2018; NCT03204409 (NH cohort), July 2, 2017.

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Keywords Arboviruses, Caribbean, Children, Cohort, Congenital abnormalities, Latin America, Mosquito-borne viruses, Natural history, Pregnant women, Risk, Vector-borne viruses, Zika
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Journal BMC Infectious Diseases
Avelino-Silva, V.I. (Vivian I.), Mayaud, P. (Philippe), Tami, A, Miranda, M.C. (Maria C.), Rosenberger, K.D. (Kerstin D.), Alexander, N. (Neal), … Koopmans, M.P.G, D.V.M. (2019). Study protocol for the multicentre cohorts of Zika virus infection in pregnant women, infants, and acute clinical cases in Latin America and the Caribbean: The ZIKAlliance consortium. BMC Infectious Diseases, 19(1). doi:10.1186/s12879-019-4685-9