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zika virus


  • a rapidly emerging mosquito borne infection of the tropics caused by the zika virus, a flavivirus.
  • like dengue fever, it is spread by Aedes aegypti, but in addition, by Aedes africanus, Aedes apicoargenteus, Aedes furcifer, Aedes luteocephalus and Aedes vitattus
  • in 2015, it caused major alarm in Brazil where it had spread to in May 2015, and is thought to be the cause of more than 2,400 suspected cases of neonatal microcephaly and 29 deaths of infants that occurred in 2015 compared to only 147 cases of microcephaly in 2014.
    • However it appears than microcephaly has not occurred in other countries with zika outbreaks such as Colombia, and thus Brazilian doctors are suggesting that a larvicide chemical introduced into waterways may actually be the cause of the microcephaly and that zika is coincidental.


  • 1st discovered in forest monkeys in Zika Forest of Uganda, Africa in 1947
  • virus 1st detected in a human in 1968 in Nigeria although human cases occurred in Africa at least from 1951
  • in 2007, it spread outside of Africa and infected nearly three-quarters of Yap Island's 11,000 residents in Micronesia
  • in 2013, Zika showed up in Tahiti and other parts of French Polynesia and was responsible for making an estimated 28,000 people so ill they sought medical care
  • arrived in Brazil in May 2015
  • in Dec 2015, cases developed in West African nation of Cape Verde and in Panama and Honduras
  • in Jan 2016, major public warnings for much of America except Canada and Chile as the virus rapidly spreads through 23 countries and expected to infect millions


  • a flavivirus
  • enveloped and icosahedral with a non-segmented, single-stranded, positive sense RNA genome
  • extrinsic incubation period in mosquitoes ~ 10 days
  • vertebrate hosts: monkeys, humans

clinical features

  • usually causes a brief, mild febrile illness with mild headache, maculopapular rash, malaise, conjunctivitis and arthralgia
  • fever usually resolves within 3 days
  • appears to cause microcephaly in newborn of infected pregnant mothers
zika.txt · Last modified: 2016/02/15 22:42 by

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