Vol 67, No 1 (2016)
Review article
Published online: 2016-03-30

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Zika — another threat on the epidemiological map of the world

Krzysztof Korzeniewski, Dariusz Juszczak, Ewa Zwolińska
DOI: 10.5603/IMH.2016.0007
Pubmed: 27029927
IMH 2016;67(1):31-37.


Zika fever is an acute infectious disease caused by the Zika virus (ZIKV) of the Flaviviridae family and Flavivirus genus. It is transmitted by day-time active Aedes mosquitoes, and potentially by sexual contacts, blood transfusion, and from mother to foetus (resulting in microcephaly in a child). ZIKV was first isolated from a macaque monkey in the Zika forest in Uganda in 1947. The first case of the Zika fever in a human was recorded in Nigeria in 1954. Until 2007 only 14 cases of the disease were confirmed worldwide. In 2007, there was an outbreak of the Zika fever in Micronesia (Yap Island) with an estimated 5,000 cases. Between 2013 and 2015 a further outbreak of the disease occurred in the Pacific islands: in French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Cook Islands, Easter Island, and Solomon Islands. In 2015, the Zika fever spread to Brazil and more than 20 other countries in the South and Central America. Until March 2016, an estimated 1.6 million autochthonous cases of Zika have been reported globally, with approximately 1.5 million cases recorded in Brazil. Typically, 80% of Zika infections are asymptomatic. The most common symptoms of the disease include fever, maculopapular rash, muscle and joint pain, conjunctivitis. Zika fever can be diagnosed on the basis of clinical signs (it must be differentiated from dengue, chikungunya), ZIKV identification is also possible by the application of polymerase chain reaction in acutely ill patients and the detection of specific IgM and IgG antibodies to ZIKV. Until today, there is no effective antiviral treatment or an effective vaccine against Zika fever (in case of an infection only symptomatic treatment is applied). In August 2016 in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) Summer Olympic Games will take place, attracting thousands of athletes and spectators. The fight against the Zika fever and the race against time have gained momentum.  

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