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Teratogens: a public health issue – a Brazilian overview

Overview of attention for article published in Genetics and Molecular Biology, May 2017
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Teratogens: a public health issue – a Brazilian overview
Published in
Genetics and Molecular Biology, May 2017
DOI 10.1590/1678-4685-gmb-2016-0179
Pubmed ID

Mazzu-Nascimento, Thiago, Melo, Débora Gusmão, Morbioli, Giorgio Gianini, Carrilho, Emanuel, Vianna, Fernanda Sales Luiz, Silva, André Anjos da, Schuler-Faccini, Lavinia


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.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 133 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 133 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 31 23%
Student > Master 27 20%
Student > Ph. D. Student 11 8%
Researcher 9 7%
Student > Doctoral Student 8 6%
Other 23 17%
Unknown 24 18%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 34 26%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 13 10%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 10 8%
Nursing and Health Professions 7 5%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 6 5%
Other 27 20%
Unknown 36 27%