Microcephaly and Zika Virus: clinical features and associations

Added March 14, 2017

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The current evidence strongly supports the association between microcephaly and Zika infection. All preventive measures must be stimulated.

The increase in microcephaly cases in Northeast Brazil (Oct-Nov 2015) coincided with the emergence of Zika virus in the country (May 2015). The review aimed to discuss the association between microcephaly and intrauterine Zika virus infection. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are the primary vector of Zika. Possible transmission through sexual contact, blood transfusion and other vectors (Aedes albopictus and Culex sp) requires preventive action. The test for viral detection is ideally performed before the 5th day following the onset of symptoms. Serology tests are not yet widely available in Brazil. The hypothesis of an association between microcephaly and Zika virus is based on reports of spatial/temporal relationship, pattern of neurologic alterations associated with congenital malformations, and findings of viral RNA in amniotic fluid and foetal tissue. Definitive conclusions about the causality can only be reached after further research and availability of laboratory tests. Risk of bias assessment was not reported in this narrative literature review.