Postmortem Findings for 7 Neonates With Congenital Zika Virus Infection

Anastácio Q. Sousa; Diane I.M. Cavalcante; Luciano M. Franco; Fernanda M.C. Araújo; Emília T. Sousa; José Telmo Valença-Junior; Dionne B. Rolim; Maria E.L. Melo; Pedro D.T. Sindeaux; Marialva T.F. Araújo; Richard D. Pearson; Mary E. Wilson; Margarida M.L. Pompeu


Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2017;23(7):1164-1167. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Postmortem examination of 7 neonates with congenital Zika virus infection in Brazil revealed microcephaly, ventriculomegaly, dystrophic calcifications, and severe cortical neuronal depletion in all and arthrogryposis in 6. Other findings were leptomeningeal and brain parenchymal inflammation and pulmonary hypoplasia and lymphocytic infiltration in liver and lungs. Findings confirmed virus neurotropism and multiple organ infection.


From the discovery of Zika virus in Uganda in 1947 through 2007, when an outbreak occurred on Yap Island, Micronesia, only sporadic cases of human infection had been reported.[1] In early 2015, the virus emerged in Brazil.[2] Its role in a major public health crisis became apparent when links between Zika virus infection and microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome were established.[1] Cases of microcephaly associated with Zika virus have been well documented.[3–7] We report a case series of postmortem findings that strengthen this association.