Brazilian officials are reporting a confirmed case of chikungunya that was transmitted from mother to baby (vertical transmission) in Paraiba state in northeast Brazil, according to a local media report (computer translated).


The 12-day old baby showed strong convulsions and is now hospitalized in an intensive care unit in the city of Campina Grande.

Municipal Children’s Hospital obstetrician Adriana Melo said they are unaware of any similar precedent in the country, although cases have been reported in the literature. Melo’s team was also responsible for identifying the Zika virus in the amniotic fluid of two fetuses with microcephaly in 2015.

Researchers note that vertical transmission cases have been reported in an epidemic on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean during the years 2005 and 2006.

This case strengthens the alert for pregnant women, who should take protective measures against Aedes aegypti, the mosquito vector Zika, dengue and chikungunya, throughout the period of pregnancy. “While the increased risk of transmission of Zika occurs in the first three months of pregnancy in the case of chikungunya is the opposite. The transmission to the fetus usually happens when the mother already ill at the end of pregnancy,” says  Oswaldo Cruz Foundation researcher Rivaldo Cunha.