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Brazil Investigating What Could Be First Confirmed Zika Miscarriage

The research group Fiocruz announced it will investigate a recent miscarriage that occurred after the mother contracted Zika. It could be the first miscarriage in Rio de Janeiro caused by the virus.

The woman “had a normal pregnancy,” but she contracted Zika in her sixth month. The doctor scheduled delivery for the following week, but she “underwent surgery to remove the fetus” on Tuesday. The baby passed away ten days ago.

An autopsy will reveal if the virus killed the baby.

Doctors performed an ultrasound on December 25 at 33 weeks. They did not find any abnormalities in the skull and thought the baby was well.

American doctors discovered the Zika virus in the placentas of two women who contracted the virus. They suffered miscarriages after they returned to the states.

STAT reported three women suffered miscarriages; the CDC confirmed Zika in two of their placentas. Researchers said the miscarriages occurred in the early stages of the pregnancy, but did not provide further details.

Other doctors have discovered Zika in the tissue of infants who died from microcephaly, a rare birth defect that occurs when the brain does not form properly during the pregnancy or after birth. It results in a small head for the child.

“This is the strongest evidence to date that Zika is the cause of microcephaly,” explained CDC Director Tom Frieden. “Zika is new, and new diseases can be scary, particularly when they can affect the most vulnerable among us.”

Frieden stopped short of claiming Zika caused the microcephaly. He said scientists need to perform more tests to confirm an actual link.

The CDC stated the disorder is typically uncommon. Following the Zika outbreak, however, Brazil has documented more than 4,000 cases and is diagnosing an average of 200 cases a week. In 2015, the country tracked an excess of 2,400 cases, compared to 147 in 2014.

Doctors reported 404 cases of microcephaly in newborns since November. They tied seventeen “to the Zika virus.” Fifteen of the 404 passed away, “with five linked to Zika.” Authorities are investigating 56 other deaths and 3,670 cases.

Brazilian authorities also found Zika in three people who died last year. Reuters reports:

The ministry said Brazilian researchers found the virus in the body of a 20-year-old woman in the northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte, who died last April from respiratory problems. Two other patients last year also died from complications while they were infected with the virus.

Castro said the deaths possibly illustrated “comorbidity” caused by the virus and complications it may have caused in the patients. The woman’s respiratory problems were likely “associated with the infection,” he said.

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