Before 2007, Zika virus (ZIKV) was generally considered as an arbovirus of low clinical relevance, causing a mild self-limiting febrile illness in tropical Africa and Southeast Asia. Currently, a large, ongoing outbreak of ZIKV that started in Brazil in 2015 is spreading across the Americas. Virus infection during pregnancy has been potentially linked to congenital malformations, including microcephaly. In addition to congenital malformations, a temporal association between ZIKV infection and an increase in cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome is currently being observed in several countries. The mechanisms underlying these neurological complications are still unknown. Emerging evidence, mainly from in vitro studies, suggests that ZIKV may have direct effects on neuronal cells. The aim of this study was to critically review the literature available regarding the neurobiology of ZIKV and its potential neuropsychiatric manifestations.
Keywords: Guillain-Barré syndrome; Zika virus; microcephaly; neurodevelopmental disorders.