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Prenatal Enterovirus 71 infection and Its Correlation with Pediatric Autistic Patients – A Possibility of Non-Genetic Cause and the Potential Treatment Target

Author(s): Yao-Ching Hung, Tai-Chang Chen, Shiow-Her Chiou, Kuan-Chih Chow, Tze-Yi Lin, Chieh-Sen Chuang, Shu-Hui Lin, Kang-Hsi Wu, Shulhn-Der Wang


Enterovirus-71 (EV-71) infects fetuses. From May to October 1998, eight cases of prenatal EV-71 infection were identified. In this study, we report the pathological features of 8 transplacentally infected cases and their post-neonatal sequelae.


EV-71 was detected in amniotic cord blood by nested reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Tissue location of virus infection was determined by immunohistochemistry of a stillborn.


The fetus infected early in the gestation was stillborn. The other fetuses were carried to term. During delivery, two newborns had biliary atresia, and one developed acute hepatic failure. One child was diagnosed with cerebellar hypoplasia at age 3, two were diagnosed with autism at age 7, and one was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at age 12.


Our results suggested that some of pediatric autistic disorders might be non-genetic, but virus-associated. Interestingly, most of the patients were associated with constipation, andhaving food debris in their feces, which were consistent with prenatal findings that EV-71 infected liver, and infection could be persisted into childhood.

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