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The severity of Zika virus-related deformations in babies has been shown to be affected by environmental factors such as maternal nutrition. The study was partially funded by a joint MRC Grant between DPAG's Professor Zoltán Molnár and Associate Professor Patricia Garcez of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website.

The full paper, "Congenital Zika Syndrome is associated with Maternal Protein Malnutrition" can be read in Sciences Advances (AAAS).

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