Scientists from the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology and the Institute of Pathology in Ljubljana, Slovenia are the first in the world to publish and prove that the ZIKA virus is associated with Microcephaly (New England Journal of Medicine, February 10, 2016). ZIKV was found in fetal brain tissue on reversetranscriptase–polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR) assay, with consistent findings on electron microscopy. The complete genome of ZIKV was recovered from the fetal brain. Imaging of the ultrathin sections and brain homogenate was performed with the use of the new JEOL 120kV JEM-1400Plus transmission electron microscope and the older model JEOL JEM-1200EXII.
In the paper, the authors present a case of vertical transmission of ZIKV in a woman who was considered to have been infected with ZIKV in northeastern Brazil at the end of the first trimester of pregnancy in 2015. In February 2016, World Health Organization declared the Zika virus, as evidenced by the cluster of microcephaly and other neurologic disorders reported in Brazil, to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.