Abstract Congenital anomalies are already the second cause of infant mortality in Brazil, as in many other middle-income countries in Latin America. Birth defects are a result of both genetic and environmental factors, but a multifactorial etiology has been more frequently observed. Here, we address the environmental causes of birth defects – or teratogens – as a public health issue and present their mechanisms of action, categories and their respective maternal-fetal deleterious effects. We also present a survey from 2008 to 2013 of Brazilian cases involving congenital anomalies (annual average of 20,205), fetal deaths (annual average of 1,530), infant hospitalizations (annual average of 82,452), number of deaths of hospitalized infants (annual average of 2,175), and the average cost of hospitalizations (annual cost of $7,758). Moreover, we report on Brazilian cases of teratogenesis due to the recent Zika virus infection, and to the use of misoprostol, thalidomide, alcohol and illicit drugs. Special attention has been given to the Zika virus infection, now proven to be responsible for the microcephaly outbreak in Brazil, with 8,039 cases under investigation (from October 2015 to June 2016). From those cases, 1,616 were confirmed and 324 deaths occurred due to microcephaly complications or alterations on the central nervous system. Congenital anomalies impact life quality and raise costs in specialized care, justifying the classification of teratogens as a public health issue.
ABSTRACT Paper-based devices present low-cost and are versatile, making them very attractive for clinical analysis. To manufacture those devices wax patterns are printed on paper surface and upon heating the wax permeates through the entire thickness of the paper, creating hydrophobic barriers that delimit test areas. Antibodies produced in rabbits against canine distemper virus (CDV) were physically adsorbed on the surface of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and incubated with CDV viral antigens, forming the immunocomplex. Anti-CDV antibodies were immobilized into the microchannels by physical adsorption, forming the test region. The test solution containing conjugated AuNPs was applied at the bottom of the microchannel and it was eluted with a phosphate buffer solution 0.01 M pH 7.4. When the solution containing the AuNPs reached the test zone the recognition of antigens contained on the immunocomplex occurred with the consequent development of a red line, which represents a positive outcome for the test. This method demonstrated the success of physical immobilization of antibodies on AuNPs and the physical immobilization of antibodies on cellulose’s surface. This colorimetric assay brings simplicity and versatility to clinical analyses, presenting potential for CDV diagnosis.