MDPI, Viruses, 4(13), p. 554, 2021
Intrauterine transmission of the Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) during early pregnancy has rarely been reported, although vertical transmission has been observed in newborns. Here, we report four cases of spontaneous abortion in women who became infected with CHIKV between the 11th and 17th weeks of pregnancy. Laboratorial confirmation of the infection was conducted by RT-PCR on a urine sample for one case, and the other three were by detection of IgM anti-CHIKV antibodies. Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining and an electron microscopy assay allowed us to find histopathological, such as inflammatory infiltrate in the decidua and chorionic villi, as well as areas of calcification, edema and the deposition of fibrinoid material, and ultrastructural changes, such as mitochondria with fewer cristae and ruptured membranes, endoplasmic reticulum with dilated cisterns, dispersed chromatin in the nuclei and the presence of an apoptotic body in case 1. In addition, by immunohistochemistry (IHC), we found a positivity for the anti-CHIKV antibody in cells of the endometrial glands, decidual cells, syncytiotrophoblasts, cytotrophoblasts, Hofbauer cells and decidual macrophages. Electron microscopy also helped in identifying virus-like particles in the aborted material with a diameter of 40–50 nm, which was consistent with the size of CHIKV particles in the literature. Our findings in this study suggest early maternal fetal transmission, adding more evidence on the role of CHIKV in fetal death.