BACKGROUND: Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral illness with 100 million new cases occurring worldwide. The vectors involved are mainly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Dengue infection is associated with maternal as well as fetal morbidities, like stillbirth, preterm birth, and low birth weight.
THE CASE: We report a case of dengue fever occurring during early pregnancy and subsequent congenital neurologic malformation in the neonate as a result of vertical transmission. To our knowledge, this is the first case of confirmed congenital dengue in Saudi Arabia.
DISCUSSION: Dengue infection is not commonly associated with congenital anomalies and no biologic mechanism has yet been established for its teratogenicity. Congenital dengue in neonates can be confirmed by identification of the dengue virus in cord blood samples. The positive dengue serology within the first week of life, together with the confirmed maternal dengue infection during pregnancy, supports the diagnosis of vertical transmission in the presence of clinical manifestations. A high index of suspicion, early diagnosis, and close monitoring is needed in these cases.