Environmental factors, such as the diets of pregnant women, have been shown to have an effect on the extent and severity of developmental malformations in babies associated with Zika virus (ZIKV) congenital infection.
Congenital Zika Syndrome (CZS) refers to a collection of developmental malformations associated with Zika virus (ZIKV) congenital infection. This syndrome includes devastating conditions that have a huge impact on the rest of the life of the individual and their family, such as smaller (microcephaly) and unfolded (lissencephalic) brains, retinal abnormalities, enlarged ventricles of the heart, a lack of the inter-hemispheric connections and calcifications in the brain.
Brazil has been widely affected by ZIKV, but ~75% of CZS have been found in the socio-economically disadvantaged region of the Northeast.
In a new study, researchers from our Department and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro have found that this rise in cases of CZS is linked to poor diet among the infants’ mothers.
The full paper, "Congenital Zika Syndrome is associated with Maternal Protein Malnutrition" can be read in Sciences Advances (AAAS).