Child's Nervous System

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 79–84 | Cite as

Challenges for molecular and serological ZIKV infection confirmation

  • Zilton Farias Meira de VasconcelosEmail author
  • Renata Campos Azevedo
  • Nathália Thompson
  • Leonardo Gomes
  • Letícia Guida
  • Maria Elisabeth Lopes Moreira
Focus Session



Zika Virus (ZIKV), member of Flaviviridae family and Flavivirus genus, has recently emerged as international public health emergency after its association with neonatal microcephaly cases. Clinical diagnosis hindrance involves symptom similarities produced by other arbovirus infections, therefore laboratory confirmation is of paramount importance.


The most reliable test available is based on ZIKV RNA detection from body fluid samples. However, short viremia window periods and asymptomatic infections diminish the success rate for RT-PCR positivity. Beyond molecular detection, all serology tests in areas where other Flavivirus circulates proved to be a difficult task due to the broad range of cross-reactivity, especially with dengue pre-exposed individuals.


Altogether, lack of serological diagnostic tools brings limitations to any retrospective evaluation. Those studies are central in the context of congenital infection that could occur asymptomatically and mask prevalence and risk rates.


ZIKV Arboviruses RT-PCR Serology PRNT Vertical transmission Microcephaly 



We thank Fernandes Figueira Institute Pediatric Infectious Disease Team for helpful discussions during this work and field expertise from ZIKVIRUSIFF Cohort study registered on with identifier NCT03255369.

Funding information

This work was supported by Fernandes Figueira Institute Research Program (Programa de Incentivo a Pesquisa II), Rio de Janeiro State Research Grant (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro—grant E-26/201.840/2017), National Research Grant (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico—grant 441098/2016-9), and CAPES/FIOCRUZ fellowship (Plano Brasil sem Miséria).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no financial interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zilton Farias Meira de Vasconcelos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Renata Campos Azevedo
    • 2
  • Nathália Thompson
    • 1
  • Leonardo Gomes
    • 1
  • Letícia Guida
    • 1
  • Maria Elisabeth Lopes Moreira
    • 1
  1. 1.Fernandes Figueira Institute, FiocruzRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Institute of Microbiology Paulo de Góes, Federal University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

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