|Journal||BMJ open, 2019-11-03, Volume 9 Find other publications in this journal|
With the emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV) disease in Central and South America in the mid-2010s and recognition of the teratogenic effects of congenital exposure to ZIKV, there has been a substantial increase in new research published on ZIKV. Our objective is to synthesise the literature on health outcomes associated with ZIKV infection in humans.We conducted a systematic review (SR) of SRs following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. We searched MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane and LILACS (Literatura Latino-Americana e do Caribe em Ciências da Saúde) databases from inception to 22 July 2019, and included SRs that reported ZIKV-associated health outcomes. Three independent reviewers selected eligible studies, extracted data and assessed the quality of included SRs using the AMSTAR 2 (A MeaSurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews 2) tool. Conflicts were resolved by consensus or consultation with a third reviewer.The search yielded 1382 unique articles, of which 21 SRs met our inclusion criteria. The 21 SRs ranged from descriptive to quantitative data synthesis, including four meta-analyses. The most commonly reported ZIKV-associated manifestations and health outcomes were microcephaly, congenital abnormalities, brain abnormalities, neonatal death and Guillain-Barré syndrome. The included reviews were highly heterogeneous. The overall quality of the SRs was critically low with all studies having more than one critical weakness.The evolving nature of the literature on ZIKV-associated health outcomes, together with the critically low quality of existing SRs, demonstrates the need for high-quality SRs to guide patient care and inform policy decision making.CRD42018091087.