NICHD Begins Study in Brazil of Zika Virus Infection during Pregnancy

NICHD has launched an observational study of pregnant women in Brazil to help improve understanding of the effects of Zika virus infection on reproductive health and the developing fetus. The study augments an existing project in Brazil on cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection during pregnancy, expanding the project’s scope to include Zika virus. Researchers aim to increase enrollment of pregnant women to approximately 200 per month in Ribeirão Preto, a city of more than 600,000 people in the state of São Paulo.

William J. Britt, M.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, leads the NICHD-funded study, in collaboration with Marisa M. Mussi-Pinhata, M.D., of the University of São Paulo.

Women who live in areas of active Zika virus transmission will be enrolled during their first trimester and followed throughout the pregnancy, regardless of their Zika virus infection status. Researchers will collect many types of samples during and after pregnancy, including blood, urine, breast milk, and amniotic fluid. They also will collect urine, saliva, and cord blood from newborn infants, analyzing maternal and newborn samples for evidence of Zika virus infection. Infants suspected of having Zika virus infection will be followed from birth until two years of age, similar to protocols used for CMV infection.

This study is one of several long-term studies being planned in areas of active Zika transmission. Pregnant women with questions about Zika virus who live, have travelled to, or must travel to Zika-affected areas should talk with their health care providers for the latest updates and recommendations.


About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s website at  

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