Zika virus infection in pregnancy: a systematic review of disease course and complications

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Evidence shows that maternal Zika virus infection tended to have more adverse effects on the fetus and the infant than on the mother.

A 20-fold increase in the incidence of microcephaly relative to previous years was reported with the onset of Zika Virus transmission in northeastern Brazil leading. This led to the World Health Organization declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on February 2016. This systematic review aimed to characterise the natural history of Zika Virus in pregnant women and included 18 studies. Maternal Zika virus infection tended to have more negative effects on the fetus and the infant than on the mother. Common symptoms in pregnant women with suspected/confirmed Zika virus infection were fever, rash and arthralgia. No cases of severe maternal morbidity or mortality were reported apart from one case of Guillain-Barré syndrome. Complications reported in association with maternal Zika virus infection included a wide range of fetal and newborn neurological and ocular abnormalities. Microcephaly was the main neurological complication reported in eight studies. Seven studies reported no symptoms in some Zika virus-infected pregnant women. Normal birth outcomes were also reported.

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