Arthropod-Borne Flaviviruses in Pregnancy

Microorganisms. 2023 Feb 8;11(2):433. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms11020433.


Flaviviruses are a diverse group of enveloped RNA viruses that cause significant clinical manifestations in the pregnancy and postpartum periods. This review highlights the epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical features, diagnosis, and prevention of the key arthropod-borne flaviviruses of concern in pregnancy and the neonatal period-Zika, Dengue, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile, and Yellow fever viruses. Increased disease severity during pregnancy, risk of congenital malformations, and manifestations of postnatal infection vary widely amongst this virus family and may be quite marked. Laboratory confirmation of infection is complex, especially due to the reliance on serology for which flavivirus cross-reactivity challenges diagnostic specificity. As such, a thorough clinical history including relevant geographic exposures and prior vaccinations is paramount for accurate diagnosis. Novel vaccines are eagerly anticipated to ameliorate the impact of these flaviviruses, particularly neuroinvasive disease manifestations and congenital infection, with consideration of vaccine safety in pregnant women and children pivotal. Moving forward, the geographical spread of flaviviruses, as for other zoonoses, will be heavily influenced by climate change due to the potential expansion of vector and reservoir host habitats. Ongoing 'One Health' engagement across the human-animal-environment interface is critical to detect and responding to emergent flavivirus epidemics.

Keywords: Dengue virus; Japanese encephalitis virus; West Nile virus; Yellow fever virus; Zika virus; flavivirus; neonate; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.