Zika virus infection during pregnancy and microcephaly occurrence: a review of literature and Brazilian data
Carvalho, Newton Sérgio De
Carvalho, Beatriz Freitas De
Fugaça, Cyllian Arias
MetadataShow full item record
In November of 2015, the Ministry of Health of Brazil published an announcement confirming the relationship between Zika virus and the microcephaly outbreak in the Northeast, suggesting that infected pregnant women might have transmitted the virus to their fetuses. The objectives of this study were to conduct a literature review about Zika virus infection and microcephaly, evaluate national and international epidemiological data, as well as the current recommendations for the health teams. Zika virus is an arbovirus, whose main vector is the Aedes sp. The main symptoms of the infection are maculopapular rash, fever, non-purulent conjunctivitis, and arthralgia. Transmission of this pathogen occurs mainly by mosquito bite, but there are also reports via the placenta. Microcephaly is defined as a measure of occipto-frontal circumference being more than two standard deviations below the mean for age and gender. The presence of microcephaly demands evaluation of the patient, in order to diagnose the etiology. Health authorities issued protocols, reports and notes concerning the management of microcephaly caused by Zika virus, but there is still controversy about managing the cases. The Ministry of Health advises notifying any suspected or confirmed cases of children with microcephaly related to the pathogen, which is confirmed by a positive specific laboratory test for the virus. The first choice for imaging exam in children with this malformation is transfontanellar ultrasound. The most effective way to control this outbreak of microcephaly probably caused by this virus is to combat the vector. Since there is still uncertainty about the period of vulnerability of transmission via placenta, the use of repellents is crucial throughout pregnancy. More investigations studying the consequences of this viral infection on the body of newborns and in their development are required.