Electromyography in Congenital Zika Syndrome

J Clin Neurophysiol. 2023 May 1;40(4):350-354. doi: 10.1097/WNP.0000000000000893. Epub 2021 Sep 6.


Introduction: Congenital Zika virus syndrome is a distinct pattern of birth defects in fetuses infected by the Zika virus. It presents a broad clinical spectrum that includes occurrences of microcephaly, hypertonia, dysphagia, hyperexcitability, seizures, and arthrogryposis. Imaging findings show neuronal migration disorders.

Methodology: Case reports have suggested that arthrogryposis has a neurogenic cause. We analyzed needle electromyography and nerve conduction examinations on 77 patients aged 2-24 months presenting highly probable congenital Zika virus syndrome, with or without arthrogryposis.

Results: All those with arthrogryposis presented with chronic muscle denervation in the electromyography examination. Similarly, children with single or reversible joint abnormalities at birth showed the same findings. Denervation in the paravertebral musculature was found in all of the children with diaphragmatic paralysis or thoracic deformities.

Conclusions: We propose that congenital contractures associated with congenital Zika virus syndrome are caused by the malformation of upper and lower motor neurons during embryogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Arthrogryposis* / complications
  • Arthrogryposis* / diagnosis
  • Child
  • Electromyography / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Microcephaly*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / diagnosis
  • Zika Virus Infection* / complications
  • Zika Virus Infection* / congenital
  • Zika Virus Infection* / diagnosis
  • Zika Virus*