Zika resources

Photo credit (copyright): Transterra Media

First published 30 September 2016; Last updated 4 June 2019

A new page in the history of Public Health in the 21st century was turned when the world realised, during one of the new outbreaks of ZIKA virus, that infection in a pregnant women could be transmitted to the foetus, causing  microcephaly and – we now know – other manifestations of Congenital Zika Syndrome (CZS). This flavivirus, transmitted by mosquitoes, mostly A. aegypti, was identified more than 60 years ago, and was not considered to be of public health importance until it started to cause outbreaks in 2007. It was only in 2015 that an epidemic of microcephaly was identified in Brazil. Investigation of space and time correlations to the epidemic of Zika indicated the possibility of a Congenital Zika Syndrome; there has never been an epidemic of congenital infections with a newly discovered virus, or by a mosquito-transmitted virus, and the few organisms known to cause congenital infections did not include flavivirus. Zika continued to spread, with 70 countries or territories reporting mosquito transmitted Zika since 2015. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the epidemic a Public Health Emergency of International concern. The process of establishing causality followed with great speed.

It is not clear why the virus is causing outbreaks and congenital syndrome now. It may be that it was circulating in Africa and Asia at sporadic levels causing high levels of population immunity, and the outbreaks were triggered by the introduction of the virus on totally susceptible populations in the Americas islands in the Pacific Ocean and the coast of Africa. If this is the case, the world will suffer epidemics for a few years, and transmission will settle in sporadic, low levels, like rubella before the introduction of vaccines. It is possible that the virus circulating in the outbreak areas is different biologically from the virus circulating in Africa and Asia; the virus in the outbreak areas can spread more rapidly and cause CZS. Whatever the reason, given the current expansion, the potential is for a major increase in the numbers of Zika congenital infections.

Because we monitored microcephaly as the marker of the epidemic, this is the manifestation we know most about. Features include neurological damage to the brain, mostly visible at radiological image, mostly to cortical subcortical areas of the brain, to the brain stem; and visual and hearing abnormalities. Follow up will identify anomalies in children apparently normal at birth as well as evolution; marked development delays, dysphagia and epilepsy seem frequent. Studies of the impact on families, society and health services are ongoing and will provide information necessary to provide needed support for affected children and families as well as for planning for health and other services. Given the number of the outbreaks – Zika has now been identified in 60 countries – other manifestations of post-natal Zika became apparent, and these include rare but severe neurological complications, including Guillan-Barre.

Zika is different from Ebola: in Ebola, most of the deaths and the outbreaks themselves could have been avoided by tools we have and know work, but lacked the political will to do so: provision of sufficient infrastructure, more and better health facilities, with capacity for diagnosis and isolation, access to water (in homes and health facilities). Zika is different; mosquitoes are hard to control: for decades, the world has tried to reduce A. aegypti populations to control dengue without much success and right now we have neither good tests, nor treatments, nor vaccines. A major effort is leading to progress towards vaccines, treatments and better diagnostic tests and methods for mosquito control. Reproductive rights of women are back on the agenda, with recognition of the need for free, local, efficient access to contraception for women wishing to postpone pregnancy until the worst of the epidemic is over or a vaccine is developed and implemented, and for women infected with Zika during pregnancy, the right to legal, safe termination of pregnancy when this is their choice.

Laura headshot for websiteAuthor, Laura C Rodrigues is the Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty  of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.



Please contact us with suggestions and comments, so we can improve this page. We will add to this page whenever we find other relevant materials, so please return to this page if you are interested. Please bear with us if an article is not yet freely available – we are working with publishers to try to secure free access for those reviews which are currently pay per view.

If you would like to use an appraisal framework when considering the relevance and quality of the full reviews that Evidence Aid links to, a few useful tools are: AMSTARCASP and ROBIS. Guidance is also available on reporting reviews: PRISMA.

Summaries of all systematic reviews, listed below, are also available in French [FR] and Spanish [ES].


[toggle title_open=”Birth defects” title_closed=”Birth defects”]

Bastos C.M., D’Avila O.P., Umpierre R.N., et al. Microcephaly and Zika Virus: clinical features and associations. Rev Bras Med Fam Comunidade. 2016;11(38):1-10. [FR]  [ES]

Besnard M., Eyrolle-Guignot D., Guillemette-Artur P., et al. Congenital cerebral malformations and dysfunction in foetuses and newborns following the 2013 to 2014 Zika Virus epidemic in French Polynesia. Euro Surveill. 2016;21(13):Article 4. [FR]  [ES]

Gebre Y., Forbes N., and Gebre T. Zika virus infection, transmission, associated neurological disorders and birth abnormalities: A review of progress in research, properties and knowledge gaps. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. 2016;6(10):815-24. [FR]  [ES]

Honein M.A., Dawson A.L., Peterson E.E., et al. Birth defects among fetuses and infants of US women with evidence of possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy. JAMA. 2017;317(1):59-68. [FR]  [ES]

Leis A.A., & Stokic D.S. Zika Virus and Guillain Barre syndrome: Is there sufficient evidence for causality? Frontiers in Neurology. 2016;7:170. [FR]  [ES]

Wu J., Huang D.Y., Ma J.T., et al. Available evidence of association between Zika Virus and Microcephaly. Chin Med J. 2016;129:2347-56. [FR]  [ES]


[toggle title_open=”Diagnostic tests” title_closed=”Diagnostic tests”]

Abd El Wahed A., Sanabani S.S., Faye O., et al. Rapid molecular detection of Zika virus in acute phase urine samples using the recombinase polymerase amplification assay. PLOS Currents Outbreaks. 2017;Jan 25:Edition 1. [FR]  [ES]

Bingham A.M., Cone M., Mock V., et al. Comparison of test results for Zika Virus RNA in urine, serum and saliva specimens from persons with travel-associated Zika Virus Disease – Florida 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65. [FR]  [ES]

Charrel R.N., Leparc-Goffart I., Pas S., et al. State of knowledge on Zika Virus for an adequate laboratory response [Submitted]. Bull World Health Organ E-pub:10 Feb 2016. [FR]  [ES]

Chibueze E.C., Parsons A.J.Q., da Silva Lopes K., et al. Accuracy of ultrasound scanning relative to reference tests for prenatal diagnosis of microcephaly in the context of Zika Virus infection: A systematic review of diagnostic test accuracy [Submitted]. Bull World Health Organ. E-pub:25 May 2016. [FR]  [ES]

Chibueze E.C., Parsons A.J.Q., Lopes K. da S, et al. Diagnostic accuracy of ultrasound scanning for prenatal microcephaly in the context of Zika Virus infection: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Scientific Reports. 2017;7:2310. [FR]  [ES]

Eboigbodin K.E., Brummer M., Ojalehto T., et al. Rapid molecular diagnostic test for Zika Virus with low demands on sample preparation and instrumentation. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2016;86:369-71. [FR]  [ES]

Lamb L.E., Bartolone S.N., Kutluay S.B. et al. Advantage of urine based molecular diagnosis of Zika virus. Int Urol Nephrol. 2016;48:1961. [FR]  [ES]

Song J., Mauk M.G., Hackett B.A., et al. Instrument-free point-of-care molecular detection of Zika Virus. Analytical Chemistry. 2016;88(14):7289-94. [FR]  [ES]

Waggoner J.J., Gresh L., Mohamed-Hadley A., et al. Single-reaction multiplex reverse transcription PCR for detection of Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue viruses. Emerg Infect Dis. 2016;22(7):1295-7. [FR]  [ES]


[toggle title_open=”Epidemiology and general” title_closed=”Epidemiology and general”]

Atif, M., Azeem, M., Sarwar, M.R. et al. Zika virus disease: A current review of the literature. Infection, 2016;44:695. [FR]  [ES]

Barbi L., Coelho A.V.C., Cláudio L., et al. Prevalence of Guillain-Barre syndrome among Zika virus infected cases: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Braz J Infect Dis. 2018. [FR]  [ES]

Bueno M.G., Martinez N., Abdalla L., et al. Animals in the Zika virus life cycle: What to expect from megadiverse Latin American countries. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2016;10(12):e0005073. [FR]  [ES]

Coelho A.V.C. and Crovella S. Microcephaly prevalence in infants born to Zika virus-infected women: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18:1714. [FR]  [ES]

Craig A.T., Butler M.T., Pastore R., et al. Update on Zika virus transmission in the Pacific Islands, 2007 to February 2016 and failure of acute flaccid paralysis surveillance to signal Zika emergence in this setting. Bulletin of the World Health Organization E-pub:2016. [FR]  [ES]

Diop D., Rambe D.S., Sanicas M.. Zika virus disease epidemics. J Trop Dis. 2016;4:208. [FR]  [ES]

Epelboin Y., Talaga S., Epelboin L., et al. Zika virus: An updated review of competent or naturally infected mosquitoes. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2017;11(11):e0005933. [FR]  [ES]

Kindhauser M.K., Allen A., Frank V., et al. Zika: The origin and spread of a mosquito borne virus. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2016;94(9):675–86C. [FR]  [ES]

Martinez-Pulgarin D.F., Acevedo-Menoza W.F., Cardona-Ospina J.A., et al. A bibliometric analysis of global Zika research. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease. 2016;14:55-7. [FR]  [ES]

Mo Y., Salada B.M.A., Anantharajah Tambyah P. Zika virus – a review for clinicians. British Medical Bulletin. 2016:1–12. [Note, not currently free access.] [FR]  [ES]

Plourde A.R., & Bloch E.M. A literature review of Zika Virus. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2016:22(7);1185-92. [FR]  [ES]

Posen, H.J., Keystone, J.S., Gubbay, J.B., et al. Epidemiology of Zika Virus, 1947-2007. BMJ Global Health. 2016:1(2);e000087. Accessed October 03, 2016. [FR]  [ES]

Venkatraman A., Mukhija D., Kumar N., et al. Zika virus misinformation on the internet. Travel Med Infect Dis. 2016;14(4):421-2. [FR]  [ES]

Waddell L.A., Greig J.D. Scoping review of the Zika Virus literature. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(5):e0156376. [FR]  [ES]


[toggle title_open=”Pregnancy and breastfeeding” title_closed=”Pregnancy and breastfeeding”]

Chibueze E.C., Tirado V., Lopes K da S., et al. Zika virus infection in pregnancy: A systematic review of disease course and complications. Reproductive Health. 2017;14:28. [FR]  [ES]

Chibueze E.C., Tirado V., da Silva Lopes K., et al. Zika Virus infection in pregnancy: A systematic review of disease course and complications [Submitted]. Bull World Health Organ. E-pub:9 June 2016. [FR]  [ES]

Dogan A.C., Wayne S., Bauer S., et al. The Zika virus and pregnancy: Evidence, management and prevention. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine. 2017;30(4):386-96. [FR]  [ES]


[toggle title_open=”Transmission” title_closed=”Transmission”]

Colt S., Garcia-Casal M.N., Peña-Rosas J.P., et al. Transmission of Zika Virus through breast milk and other breastfeeding related bodily fluids: A systematic review [Submitted]. Bull World Health Organ E-pub:02 May 2016. [FR]  [ES]

Colt S., Garcia-Casal M.N., Peña-Rosas J.P., et al. Transmission of Zika virus through breast milk and other breastfeeding-related bodily fluids: A systematic review. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2017;11(4):e0005528. [FR]  [ES]

Epelboin S., Dulioust E., Epelboin L., et al. Zika virus and reproduction: facts, questions and current managementHuman Reproduction Update, 2017;23(6):629–45. [FR]  [ES]

Grischott F., Puhan M., Hatz C., Schlagenhauf P. Non-vector-borne transmission of Zika virus: A systematic review. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease. 2016;14:313-30. [FR]  [ES]

Lessler J., Ott C.T., Carcelen A.C., et al. Times to key events in the course of Zika infection and their implications for surveillance: A Systematic Review and Pooled Analysis. bioRxiv 041913. [FR]  [ES]

Moreira J., Peixoto T.M., Machado de Siqueira A., et al. Sexually acquired Zika virus: a systematic review. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. 2017;23:296-305. [FR]  [ES]

Soriano-Arandes A., Rivero-Calle I., Nastouli E., et. al. What we know and what we don’t know about perinatal Zika virus infection: a systematic review. Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy, 2018;16(3):243-54. doi.org/10.1080/14787210.2018.1438265. [FR]  [ES]


[toggle title_open=”Travel and mass gatherings” title_closed=”Travel and mass gatherings”]

Gautret P., Mockenhaupt F., Grobusch M.P., et al. Arboviral and other illnesses in travellers returning from Brazil, June 2013 to May 2016: Implications for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Euro Surveill. 2016;21(27):pii=30278. [FR]  [ES]

Hamer D.H., Barbre K.A., Chen L.H., et al. Travel-associated Zika Virus Disease acquired in the Americas through February 2016: A geosentinel analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2017;166:99-108. [FR]  [ES]

Ibrahim N.K. Zika virus: Epidemiology, current phobia and preparedness for upcoming mass gatherings, with examples from World Olympics and Pilgrimage. Pak J Med Sci. 2016;32(4):1038-43. [FR]  [ES]


[toggle title_open=”Vector control” title_closed=”Vector control”]

Alvarado-Castro V., Paredes-Solís S., Nava-Aguilera E., et al. Assessing the effects of interventions for Aedes aegypti control: systematic review and meta-analysis of cluster randomised controlled trials. BMC Public Health. 2017;17(1):21. [FR]  [ES]

Bouzid M., Brainard J., Hooper L., et al. Public health interventions for Aedes control in the time of Zika virus: A meta-review on effectiveness of vector control strategies. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 2016;10(12):e0005176. [FR]  [ES]

Das J.K., Salam R.A., Arshad A., et al. Community based interventions for the prevention and control of Non-Helmintic NTD. Infectious Diseases of Poverty. 2014;3:24. [FR]  [ES]

Gunn J.K.L., Ernst K.C., Center K.E., et al. Current strategies and successes in engaging women in vector control: a systematic review. BMJ Global Health. 2018;3(1):e000366. [FR]  [ES]

Krauer F., Riesen M., Reveiz L., et al. Zika virus infection as cause of congenital brain abnormalities and Guillain-Barre syndrome: systematic review. WHO Zika Casualty Working Group 2016. [FR]  [ES]

Krauer F., Risen M., Reveiz L., et al., WHO Zika Causality Working Group. Zika Virus Infection as a cause of congenital brain abnormalities and Guillain-Barre Syndrome: Systematic Review. PLOS Medicine 2016;14(1);e1002203. [FR]  [ES]

Lawrence C.E., & Croft A.M.. Do mosquito coils prevent malaria? A systematic review of trials. J Travel Med. 2004;11(2):92-6. [FR]  [ES]

Patel, R. V., Shaeer, K. M., Patel, P., et al. EPA-registered repellents for mosquitoes transmitting emerging viral disease. Pharmacotherapy. 2016;36:1272–80. [Note, not currently free access.] [FR]  [ES]

Pavela R., Benelli G. Ethnobotanical knowledge on botanical repellents employed in the African region against mosquito vectors – A review. Experimental Parasitology. 2016. [FR]  [ES]

Pileggi V.N., Braga G.C., Bellissimo-Rodrigues F., et al. A rapid review of personal protective measures for preventing Zika Virus infection among pregnant women. [Submitted]. Bull World Health Organ. E-pub:21 July 2016. [FR]  [ES]

Wilson A.L., Dhiman R.C., Kitron U., et al. Benefit of insecticide treated nets, curtains and screening on vector borne diseases excluding malaria: A systematic review and meta analysis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2014;8(10):e3228. [FR]  [ES]



[toggle title_open=”Dengue Fever” title_closed=”Dengue Fever”]

Al-Muhandis N., Hunter, P.R. The value of educational messages embedded in a community-based approach to combat dengue: A systematic review and meta regression analysis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2011;Aug5(8): e1278. [FR]  [ES]

Ballenger-Browning K.K., Elder J.P.  Multi-modal Aedes aegypti mosquito reduction interventions and dengue fever prevention. Tropical Medicine and International Health. 2009:14(12);1542-51. [FR]  [ES]

Bowman L.R., Donegan S., McCall P.J. Is Dengue vector control deficient in effectiveness or evidence? Systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2016:March 17; 10(3) e0004551. [FR]  [ES]

Boyce R., Lenhart A., Kroeger A., et al. Bacillus thuringiensis israellensis (Bti) for the control of dengue vectors: Systematic literature review. Trop Med Int Health. 2013;18:564–77. [FR]  [ES]

Erlanger T.E., Keiser J., Utzinger, J. Effect of dengue vector control interventions on entomological parameters in developing countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medical and Veterinary Entomology. 2008;22:203–221. [FR]  [ES]

Esu E., Lenhart A., Smith L., et al. Effectiveness of peridomestic space spraying with insecticide on dengue transmission: systematic review. Trop Med Int Health. 2010;15(5):619-31. [FR]  [ES]

Frederico E.H.F.F., Cardoso A.L.B.D., Moreira Marconi E., et al. Anti-viral effects of medicinal plants in the management of dengue: a systematic review. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2017;14(S):33-40. [FR]  [ES]

Han, W. W., Lazaro, A., McCall, P. J., et al. Efficacy and community effectiveness of larvivorous fish for dengue vector control. Trop Med Int Health. 2015;20:1239–56. [FR]  [ES]

Heintze C., Velasco Garrido M., Kroeger A. What do community based dengue control programmes achieve: A systematic review of published evaluations. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2007;101(4):317-25. [FR]  [ES]

Horstick O., Runge-Ranzinger S. Protection of the house against Chagas disease, dengue, leishmaniasis and lymphatic filariasis: a systematic review. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 18, e147 – e158. doi.org/10.1016/ S1473-3099(17)30422-X. [FR]  [ES]

Lazaro A., Han W.W., Manrique-Saide P., et al. Community effectiveness of copepods for dengue vector control: Systematic review. Trop Med Int Health. 2015;20:685–706. [FR]  [ES]

Maoz D., Ward T., Samuel M., et al. Community effectiveness of pyriproxyfen as a dengue vector control method: A systematic review. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2017;11(7):e0005651. [FR]  [ES]

Ramos-Castaneda J., Breeto dos Santos F., Martinez-Vega R., et al. Dengue in Latin America: Systematic review of molecular epidemiological trends. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2017; 11(1). [FR]  [ES]

Torres J.R., Orduna T.A., Pina-Pozas M., et al. Epidemiological characteristics of Dengue disease in Latin America and the Caribbean: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Tropical Medicine: 2017, Article ID 8045435, 18 pages. [FR]  [ES]

Trang N.T.H., Long N.P., Hue T.T.M., et. al. Association between nutritional status and dengue infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Infectious Diseases. 2016;16:172. [FR]  [ES]

Zubair M., Ashraf M., Ahsan A., et al. Dengue viral infections in Pakistan and other Asian countries: A comprehensive review. J Pak Med Assoc. 2016;66(7):884-8. [FR]  [ES]



[toggle title_open=”Laboratory tests” title_closed=”Laboratory tests”]

Rabe I.B., Staples J.E., Villanueva J., et al. Interim guidance for interpretation of Zika Virus antibody test results. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65. [FR]  [ES]

World Health Organization Interim Guidance 2016 WHO/ZIKV/LAB/16.1.: Laboratory testing for Zika virus infection. [FR]  [ES]


[toggle title_open=”Pregnancy and preconception” title_closed=”Pregnancy and preconception”]

Oduyebo T., Petersen E.E., Rasmussen S.A., et al. Update: Interim guidelines for health care providers caring for pregnant women and women of reproductive age with possible Zika Virus exposure — United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65:122–7. [FR]  [ES]

Petersen E.E., Polen K.N., Meaney-Delman D., et al. Update: Interim guidance for health care providers caring for women of reproductive age with possible Zika virus exposure — United States.  MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65:315–22. [FR]  [ES]

Petersen E.E., Staples J.E., Meaney-Delman D., et al. Guidelines for pregnant women during a Zika virus outbreak — United States. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65:30-3. [FR]  [ES]

Simões R., Buzzini R., Bernardo W., et al. Zika virus infection and pregnancy. Rev. Assoc. Med. Bras. [Internet]. 2016 Apr [cited 2017 June 16];62(2):108-115. [FR]  [ES]


[toggle title_open=”Sexual transmission” title_closed=”Sexual transmission”]

Brooks J.T., Friedman A., Kachur R.E., et al. Update: Interim guidance for prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus – United States, July 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65:745–7. [FR]  [ES]

Oster A.M., Russell K., Stryker J.E., et al. Update: Interim guidance for prevention of sexual transmission of Zika Virus – United States 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65:323–5. [FR]  [ES]

Petersen E.E., Meaney-Delman D., Neblett-Fanfair R., et al. Update: Interim guidance for preconception counseling and prevention of sexual transmission of Zika Virus for persons with possible Zika Virus exposure — United States. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65:1077-81. [FR]  [ES]

World Health Organization. Interim Guidance update 6 September 2016 WHO/ZIKV/MOC/16.1 Rev.3: Prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus. [FR]  [ES]


[toggle title_open=”Treatment and prevention” title_closed=”Treatment and prevention”]

Bonner L. Zika Virus Disease: Updated guide for pharmacists and their patients. Pharmacy Today. 2016;22:31. [FR]  [ES]

Russell K., Oliver S.E., Lewis L., et al. Update: Interim guidance for the evaluation and management of infants with possible congenital Zika Virus Infection — United States. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65:870–8. [FR]  [ES]

World Health Organization; 2016: Infant feeding in areas of Zika virus transmission. [FR]  [ES]

Zika Working Group on behalf of the Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel (CATMAT). Canadian recommendations on the prevention and treatment of Zika virus: Update. Can Comm Dis Rep 2016;42:101-11. [FR]  [ES]

World Health Organization Interim Guidance 2016: Protecting the health and safety of workers in emergency vector control of Aedes mosquitoes. Interim guidance for vector control and health workers. [FR]  [ES]



[toggle title_open=”Other useful information” title_closed=”Other useful information”]

Gianfredi V., Bragazzi N., Nucci D., et al. Harnessing big data for communicable tropical and sub-tropical disorders: implications from a systematic review of the literature. Frontiers in Public Health. 2018:6. 10.3389/fpubh.2018.00090. [FR]  [ES]