An imported case of congenital malformation associated with Zika virus infection in Slovenia ex Brazil
This case report from Slovenia adds to the body of evidence that transplacental infections with Zika virus can cause severe central nervous system damage and microcephaly.
A case of congenital malformation (microcephaly) has been detected in a pregnant woman in Slovenia, who developed Zika-like infection during pregnancy while residing in Brazil, according to a report published on 10 February 2016 by The New England Journal of Medicine. The pregnancy was terminated and the foetus showed evidence of Zika virus infection and malformation of the central nervous system.
This is the first documented case of congenital malformation in the EU that is associated with Zika virus infection acquired in a Zika-affected area. Several similar cases have been reported from Brazil and one from Hawaii, and additional cases like this are not unexpected as the epidemic of Zika virus continues to spread in the Americas and the Caribbean.
This case report from Slovenia adds to the body of evidence that transplacental infections with Zika virus can cause severe central nervous system damage and microcephaly. This case together with the case in Hawaii and a few documented cases in Brazil have documented all steps in the chain of an intrauterine infection, from symptomatic Zika-like infection in a pregnant mother residing in a Zika-affected area to detection of microcephaly with brain calcifications in the foetus and detection of Zika virus either in the amniotic fluid, in the cerebrospinal fluid of the newborn or in the central nervous system of an aborted foetus or a dead newborn.
The magnitude of the risk that Zika virus infection during pregnancy will result in malformations in the foetus is under investigation, but remains unknown at present.
Considering the growing body of evidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with Zika virus infection, ECDC recommends that pregnant women postpone non-essential travel to Zika affected areas.
For full list of precautions, see ECDC Rapid Risk Assessment.