Infectious causes of microcephaly: epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management.

Devakumar, D; Bamford, A; Ferreira, MU; Broad, J; Rosch, RE; Groce, N; Breuer, J; Cardoso, MA; Copp, AJ; Alexandre, P; Rodrigues, LC; Abubakar, I; (2017) Infectious causes of microcephaly: epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management. The Lancet infectious diseases. ISSN 1473-3099 DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(17)30398-5

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Microcephaly is an important sign of neurological malformation and a predictor of future disability. The 2015-16 outbreak of Zika virus and congenital Zika infection brought the world's attention to links between Zika infection and microcephaly. However, Zika virus is only one of the infectious causes of microcephaly and, although the contexts in which they occur vary greatly, all are of concern. In this Review, we summarise important aspects of major congenital infections that can cause microcephaly, and describe the epidemiology, transmission, clinical features, pathogenesis, management, and long-term consequences of these infections. We include infections that cause substantial impairment: cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, rubella virus, Toxoplasma gondii, and Zika virus. We highlight potential issues with classification of microcephaly and show how some infants affected by congenital infection might be missed or incorrectly diagnosed. Although Zika virus has brought the attention of the world to the problem of microcephaly, prevention of all infectious causes of microcephaly and appropriately managing its consequences remain important global public health priorities.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
PubMed ID: 28844634


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