HealthDay News — Dutch researchers are reporting a case of miscarriage tied to maternal infection with the Zika virus. The report was published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Annemiek A. van der Eijk, MD, PhD, of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues present the case of a 31-year-old Dutch woman who lost her baby at 11 weeks’ gestation, after contracting Zika on a trip to the South American country of Suriname. Suriname borders Brazil, which has been hit hard by thousands of cases of Zika-linked microcephaly.
The team describes how the pregnant woman became ill with headache, joint pain, and rash the day after she returned to the Netherlands after more than three weeks in Suriname. She recovered after six days. But, about two weeks after her symptoms first emerged, doctors found no fetal heartbeat when the woman went in for a routine ultrasound.
Traces of Zika virus were found in amniotic fluid, placental tissue, and in the mother’s urine and blood, van der Eijk’s team noted. The virus was also found in fetal stem cells, suggesting that Zika “replicates in pluripotent (amniotic stem) cells involved in early-stage embryo development,” the researchers explained. Traces of Zika virus in blood and fetal tissue were found for at least 21 days, suggesting that the window for testing a pregnant woman for the virus may need to be expanded. The current testing window set by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is 14 days.