Detection and sequencing of Zika virus from amniotic fluid of fetuses with microcephaly in Brazil: a case study
Aguiar, Renato S
Melo, Adriana S O
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Background The incidence of microcephaly in Brazil in 2015 was 20 times higher than in previous years. Congenital microcephaly is associated with genetic factors and several causative agents. Epidemiological data suggest that microcephaly cases in Brazil might be associated with the introduction of Zika virus. We aimed to detect and sequence the Zika virus genome in amniotic fluid samples of two pregnant women in Brazil whose fetuses were diagnosed with microcephaly. Methods In this case study, amniotic fluid samples from two pregnant women from the state of Paraíba in Brazil whose fetuses had been diagnosed with microcephaly were obtained, on the recommendation of the Brazilian health authorities, by ultrasound-guided transabdominal amniocentesis at 28 weeks' gestation. The women had presented at 18 weeks' and 10 weeks' gestation, respectively, with clinical manifestations that could have been symptoms of Zika virus infection, including fever, myalgia, and rash. After the amniotic fluid samples were centrifuged, DNA and RNA were extracted from the purified virus particles before the viral genome was identified by quantitative reverse transcription PCR and viral metagenomic next-generation sequencing. Phylogenetic reconstruction and investigation of recombination events were done by comparing the Brazilian Zika virus genome with sequences from other Zika strains and from flaviviruses that occur in similar regions in Brazil.