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Pathog Glob Health. 2016 Oct - Dec;110(7-8):262-268. Epub 2016 Sep 30.

Zika virus infection and pregnancy: what we do and do not know.

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a Section of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Department of Biomedicine and Prevention , University of Rome Tor Vergata , Rome , Italy.
b Department of Infectious Diseases , Istituto Superiore di Sanità , Rome , Italy.


Recent data strongly suggest an association between the current outbreak of ZIKA virus (ZIKV) in many countries of Central and South America and a sharp increase in the detection of microcephaly and fetal malformations. The link with brain defect, which has been detected mainly in some areas of Brazil, is supported by the following evidence: (1) ZIKV transmission from infected pregnant women to their fetuses; (2) the potential of ZIKV to determine a specific congenital fetal syndrome characterized by abnormalities involving primarily the developing brain and eye. In particular, the risk of transmission and congenital disease appears to be restricted to mother's infection during the first trimester of pregnancy. Among brain defects, microcephaly, brain calcifications, and ventriculomegaly are the most frequent abnormalities of the central nervous system detected so far. However, relevant information on effect of maternal infection with ZIKV on the fetus is still limited. In this review, we focus our attention on current knowledge about ZIKV infection in pregnancy, discussing relevant issues and open problems which merit further investigation.


Congenital malformations; Microcephaly; Pregnancy; Zika Virus

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