The Zika virus, which is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, is strongly suspected to be linked to a new wave of microcephaly cases in Brazil. Babies born with this birth defect have smaller heads and sometimes brains that aren’t fully developed, which can result in life-long developmental problems.
Zika is currently spreading through Central and South America and the Caribbean, and with the high volume of news about the virus, it’s tough to stay up-to-date.
Brazilian researchers have detailed a single case in which a mother, infected with Zika virus but asymptomatic, had a late-term stillbirth. While it’s unclear if Zika virus caused the stillbirth, doctors said the fetus had severe microcephaly and its brain was completely absent, reports Reuters. The skull, as well as parts of the lungs and abdomen, were filled with fluid. They also found that the fetus may have had arthrogryposis, a condition in which joints are stuck in place and can’t move.
While it is just one case, the researchers noted it was unusual, and that other doctors should watch out for stillbirth as a possible consequence of Zika virus infection. The mother tested negative for other known causes of microcephaly.