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Research reveals abnormalities in 29% of the fetuses from pregnant women infected with Zika

The study is an important contribution to demonstrate the relation between zika virus infection and mycrocephaly, says researcher


Results are still preliminary since some pregnant women had not yed delivered their babies

A study at the Rio de Janeiro Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, conducted by a research group from the National Infectious Diseases Institute from Fiocruz-RJ among pregnant women at any stage, revealed a concerning result. Of 42 examined fetuses in pregnant women infected by the Zika virus, 12 (around 29%) presented some modification in the image test, clinical manifestation of the virus effect in the central nervous system, as failure forming brain structures and microcephaly.

The study is limited by the small number of monitored pregnant women, not allowing to infer the absolute risk for inborn abnormalities during the viral infection, according to the papers author, Doctor Patrícia Brasil. The research involved 88 women presenting skin rashes, of which 72 (82%) were confirmed to be infected by Zika by viral RNA identification in the blood or urine.

Despite verifying in our study fetal changes in all pregnancy trimesters, the infections that took place in the beggining of the pregnancy, or during the embryo formation period, were those that produced most inborn abnormalities, mostly in the fetus head, since the zika has a known tropism for brain tissue, explained Doctor Patricia Brasil, leader of the Clinical Research Group in Febrile Acute Diseases at Fiocruz-RJ.

By the end of the pregnancy, the changes in the fetus seemed to have been caused by placenta involvement and changes in the amniotic fluid volume, which if early detected can be treated preventing fetal suffering, she added.

The researcher explains the close medical follow-up of the infected pregnant woman by her obstetrician is very important, since the regular monitoring of the fetus growth and evolution can lead to an opportune detection of changes that could point the need for early intervetions able to save the babys life. Likewise, all babies born from infected mothers should be submitted to follow-up by a specialized team.

Also a member of the research team, Doctor André Siqueira PhD in Tropical Diseases explains the results are still preliminary since some pregnant women had not yet reached the end of pregnancy. It is an important contribution to demonstrate the relation between zika virus infection and microcephaly, describing a variety of impairments to the fetus and that all pregnancy phases can bring some kind of damage, he said.

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