Congenital cerebral malformations and dysfunction in foetuses and newborns following the 2013 to 2014 Zika Virus epidemic in French Polynesia

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There was insufficient evidence to associate cerebral malformations or dysfunction without microcephaly to Zika virus infection.

 An unusual increase in annual congenital cerebral malformations, brainstem dysfunction and severe microcephaly among foetuses and new-borns was observed after the 2013 – 2014 Zika virus epidemic in French Polynesia. This retrospective review, conducted from March 2014 to May 2015, analysed this increase and explained the neurological lesions identified and the corresponding virological results. Laboratory investigation of amniotic fluid was conducted, symptoms of Zika virus infection during pregnancy were collected through interviews and data from medical records was used. From the 4787 births observed during the study period, a total of 33 cases with congenital brain abnormalities were observed. After exclusion of irrelevant aetiologies, the study included 19 cases with congenital brain abnormalities, from which eight presented microcephaly.

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