A literature review of Zika Virus

Added January 12, 2017

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Findings reveal that further investigation is needed on the following areas: virus´ vectors and reservoirs, pathogenesis, genetic diversity and potential synergistic effects of co infection with other circulating viruses.

Zika virus is a flavivirus that was initially identified in Aedes africanus mosquitoes from the Forest of Uganda. However, studies in humans suggest it is widespread throughout Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Also, historically symptomatic Zika virus infections were limited to sporadic cases or small clusters of patients symptomatic but in 2007 the first major outbreak of Zika virus infection occurred in Yap. This review contextualizes the zika virus epidemic in the Americas and identifies knowledge gaps. Findings suggest that there is still uncertainty about virus vectors, epidemiology and pathogenesis and critiquing new data is necessary; diagnosis remains suboptimal; prevention measures (specifically, vector control) are a current priority; and further entomologic research is needed to define the range of Zika virus vectors and identify new areas where autochthonous transmission could take place. Investment is also needed in durable control measures such as adaptable vaccine platforms for arboviruses as no Zika virus vaccines are in advanced development. Finally, aspects of virus´ pathogenesis remain unclear. Given reports of possible transfusion-transmitted Zika virus, the pandemic also has implications for blood supply in endemic and nonendemic regions.