Zika Virus

Zika Virus29 posts

The Zika virus, named after the Zika forest in Uganda, is a mosquito-transmitted disease found in tropical areas. Zika is a flavivirus in the same family as yellow fever, dengue, West Nile, and Japanese encephalitis. Infection causes mild fever-like symptoms, a rash and conjunctivitis, or no symptoms at all. In 2016 the virus was suspected for causing birth defects in babies, with thousands of babies being born with smaller than normal heads in Brazil. The spread of the virus has caused worldwide alarm.

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8 Feb, 2016
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Obama asks congress for emergency funds

Makes Statement

The White House says it will ask Congress for $1.8 billion in emergency funding to combat the Zika virus: $828 million for the CDC to increase research into Zika, monitor the disease, and improve testing programs; $250 million to expand health programs in Puerto Rico, where the virus has already taken hold; $200 million is for vaccine research; $335 million for the US Agency for International Development to support Zika control efforts abroad; and $210 million to establish a new Urgent and Emerging Threat Fund that would build readiness in case other mosquito populations — like the Aedes albopictus — start carrying Zika to new states. President Obama:

The good news is this is not like Ebola, people don’t die of Zika. A lot of people get it and don’t even know that they have it.

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U.S. athletes should consider not attending Olympics

Makes Statement

Reports say The United States Olympic Committee told U.S. sports federations that athletes and staff concerned for their health over the Zika virus should consider not going to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August. The message was delivered in a conference call involving USOC officials and leaders of U.S. sport federations in late January, according to two people who participated in the call. Federations were told that:

[No one one should go to Brazil] if they don’t feel comfortable going. Bottom line.

7 Feb, 2016
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France curbs blood transfusions

Makes Statement

French Health Minister Touraine says travellers coming back from any outbreak zones of the Zika virus will need to wait at least 28 days before giving blood to avoid any risk of transmission, and advises pregnant women to inform the authorities if they had travelled to any of the zones. Eighteen cases have been reported in travellers in France.

5 Feb, 2016
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Columbia: three deaths linked to nerve disorder

Makes Statement

Colombia says three people have died after contracting the Zika virus and developing Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare nerve disorder. The country’s Health Minister says there is a “causal connection” between Zika, the Guillain-Barre disorder and the three deaths. Health Institute says they are investigating a further six deaths for possible links to Zika.

We have confirmed and attributed three deaths to Zika. In this case, the three deaths were preceded by Guillain-Barre syndrome. Other cases (of deaths linked to Zika) are going to emerge. The world is realising that Zika can be deadly. The mortality rate is not very high, but it can be deadly.

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Brazil finds Zika virus in urine, saliva

Scientific Discovery

Brazilian scientists says they have detected the presence of the Zika virus in samples of human saliva and urine, a first for Brazil. The samples came from two patients with Zika-like symptoms; one was found to have the virus in urine, the other had Zika in the saliva sample. It remains unclear whether the tiny sample size was enough to produce solid conclusions. Researchers warn that the virus might have the potential to spread through kissing or urine, but are quick to point out that this still remains to be proved. A potential upside to Friday’s revelation could involve developing urine tests as a diagnostic tool. Researcher:

It is something we have to further investigate. We are not yet sure if Zika can be transmitted to others [through saliva or urine].

4 Feb, 2016
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Pregnancy case confirmed in Spain

Makes Statement

Spain’s health ministry confirms that a pregnant woman in the north-eastern Catalonia region, who recently returned from Columbia, has the virus, the first case in Europe. Spain has reported seven other cases of the virus.

All are in good health. The diagnosed cases of Zika virus in Spain… don’t risk spreading the virus in our country as they are imported cases.

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Brazil: Zika infections from blood transfusions

Makes Statement

Brazilian health officials say they have confirmed two cases of transmission of Zika through transfusions of blood from donors. Doctors say genetic testing confirmed that a man who received a blood transfusion using blood from a donor with Zika in March 2015 became infected with the virus, although the patient did not develop symptoms. Earlier, the health department of Campinas, an industrial city near Sao Paulo, said a man with gunshot wounds became infected with Zika after multiple blood transfusions in April 2015 that included blood donated by an infected person.

The two cases can be considered transmission of the virus through blood transfusion, with greater certainty in the first because we did genetic sequencing comparing the virus in the donor and to the virus in the recipient.

3 Feb, 2016
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Declares State of Emergency in FL counties with Zika virus

Makes Statement

Gov. Scott declares a state of emergency in the four counties where people have been diagnosed with the Zika virus: Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Lee and Santa Rosa. Nine people have been diagnosed with Zika in Florida, though health officials believe that all of them contracted the disease outside of the U.S. Scott’s executive order requires the state health officer to “take any action necessary to protect public health” and allows the commissioner of agriculture to issue a “mosquito declaration” in the affected counties to reduce populations of the insects that can spread the disease. Scott:

Although Florida’s current nine Zika cases were travel-related, we have to ensure Florida is prepared and stays ahead of the spread of the Zika virus in our state.

2 Feb, 2016
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Asks blood donors to wait 28 days

Makes Statement

The American Red Cross asks prospective donors who have visited Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central or South America during the past four weeks to wait at least 28 days before giving blood. The organization says:

The risk of transmission through blood donation continues to be extremely low in the continental U.S.

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First US transmission case; through sexual contact

Makes Statement

The first known case of Zika virus transmission in the United States is reported in Dallas, TX. Officials say it was likely was contracted through sex and not a mosquito bite. The person was infected through sexual contact with someone who had traveled to Venezuela. Texas Department of State Health Services:

Case details are being evaluated, but the possibility of sexual transmission from an infected person to a non-infected person is likely in this case.

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Drugmakers announce virus efforts

Announcement

Sanofi announces that it has launched a project to develop a vaccine against the virus, the most decisive commitment yet by a major vaccine maker. The company says its Sanofi Pasteur vaccines division would use its expertise in developing vaccines for similar viruses such as yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and dengue. The University of South Australia also says it is working on a Zika vaccine with Australian biotech Sementis Ltd. U.S. drug developer NewLink Genetics Corp said it has started a project to develop Zika treatment options.

25 Jan, 2016
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Virus likely to spread across Americas

Makes Statement

The WHO warns that the Zika virus is likely to spread across the Americas. The virus has already been found in 21 countries in the Caribbean, North and South America. No treatment or vaccine is available. The virus is spread through the Aedes mosquito. This mosquito is found throughout the Americas with the exceptions of Canada and Chile. 80% of infections do not show symptoms, but there seems to be a link between the virus and impaired fetal development.

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Countries warn women to delay pregnancy

Makes Statement

Officials in four Latin American and Caribbean countries warn women to delay pregnancy as the consequences of the Zika virus outbreak for developing fetuses become more apparent. During an outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil, the nation saw an increase of nearly 4,000 infants born with microcephaly. US health authorities have warned pregnant women to avoid travelling to more than 20 countries in the Americas and beyond, where Zika cases have been registered. Colombian health minister:

We are doing this because I believe it’s a good way to communicate the risk, to tell people that there could be serious consequences.

16 Jan, 2016
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First brain-damaged baby in US

Makes Statement

The Hawaii State Department of Health says a baby born with an unusually small head and brain in an Oahu hospital had been infected with the Zika virus. The presence of the virus was confirmed by the CDC. The child’s mother was probably infected early in her pregnancy by a mosquito when she lived in Brazil in May in 2015. The virus presumably reached the embryo and damaged its developing brain. Hawaii’s state epidemiologist:

We are saddened by the events that have affected this mother and her newborn. This case further emphasizes the importance of the C.D.C. travel recommendations released today.

29 Dec, 2015
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2700 microcephalic babies born in 2015

Makes Statement

The New York Times reports that more than 2700 microcephalic babies have been born in Brazil in 2015, up from fewer than 150 in 2014, according to news media reports in Brazil. Though the increase is tentatively blamed on spreading Zika virus, some say the link is not clear.

Apr 2015
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Zika identified

Scientific Discovery

By March 2015 the virus appears in two more Brazilian states, then reaches Salvador, a city of 2.5 million. Doctors speculate that the symptoms are the result of an allergy; that it was roseola, a childhood illness; that it was a new variant of Fifth Disease, a facial rash that gives children a “slapped-cheek” look. Dr Soares, a biologist:

People were claiming it was polluted water. I began thinking it was something transmitted by mosquitoes.

Working in his modest lab with a colleague, Dr. Soares tests thousands blood samples. Other doctors are doing the same. Over 6,800 samples are tested from victims ranging from 4 months to 98 years old. Parvovirus, dengue, chikungunya and other suspects are all ruled out, leaving Zika as the cause in April. Dr Soares:

I actually felt a sense of relief. The literature said it was much less aggressive than viruses we already deal with in Brazil.

Aug 2014
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Virus spreads in Brazil

Disease Outbreak

Shortly after the 2014 World Cup, doctors start to notice patients trickling into public hospitals in Natal, capital of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, about 200 miles up the coast from Recife. Natal had been one of the host cities of the soccer championship, which draws fans from all over the world. A second theory, proposed by French scientists, who had investigated the outbreak in Polynesia, was that it arrived a few weeks later, during the Va’a World Sprint, a canoe race in Rio that attracted teams from several Polynesian islands. Almost all victims had the same symptoms: a flat pinkish rash, bloodshot eyes, fever, joint pain and headaches. None were desperately ill, but the similarities were striking. Local epidemiologist:

That scared some patients and doctors, and my team. We knew nothing other than that it might be some kind of light dengue.

In January, 100 infected people show up at the state’s hospitals in one day. Infectious disease specialist:

We alerted the federal authorities that we were dealing with something urgent and new. But their reaction was sluggish.

Dec 2013
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First New York case

The first case of Zika infection detected in New York City is found in a 48-year-old traveler who lives near Central Park. He had just returned from a long trek through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Easter Island and Hawaii, with a stopover in French Polynesia. The nurse who first saw him, said he pulled his shirt out of his bluejeans and peeled it off, exposing a pinkish rash he said he had had for 11 days:

I took one look and said, ‘Dengue fever. He said, ‘I’m not so sure. I think it’s Zika.’ I’d heard of Zika, but nobody was thinking about Zika. But this is a very, very bright guy. He travels a lot, he knows about safe water and safe altitudes for malaria. He was right on the money, that guy. In Polynesia, he had read articles in the local paper about Zika.

She takes a blood sample and again 20 days later, and sends both samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Their tests showed that he had antibodies to dengue, West Nile and Zika, but the count of Zika antibodies had shot up. The nurse says her patient had found an article about a scientist in Colorado who had infected his wife with the virus after returning from Africa.

Because of that paper, I advised him not to have unprotected sex with his common-law wife. What’s weirder…He knew there were cases of Guillain-Barré connected to it.

Guillain-Barré  is a form of temporary paralysis that starts in the hands and feet. If it reaches the lungs the patient can die.

1 Oct, 2013
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French Polynesia outbreak

Disease Outbreak

The Zika virus races through the many islands of French Polynesia, including Tahiti and Bora Bora. In early 2014, it moves to the Cook Islands, just to the west, and New Caledonia, close to Australia. It also leapt to Easter Island, home of the giant stone heads, officially arrival in the Western Hemisphere.

Apr 2007
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Yap outbreak

Disease Outbreak

An outbreak of illness characterized by rash, arthralgia, and conjunctivitis is reported on Yap Island in the Federated States of Micronesia. Serum samples from patients in the acute phase of illness contained RNA of Zika virus. This is the first time Zika has spread outside its usual geographic range. Symptoms noticed are: rash, conjunctivitis, and arthralgia (joint pain).

1981
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Indonesia outbreak

Disease Outbreak

Seven people are reported with Zika virus in Indonesia. A subsequent study indicates that 9/71 (13%) human volunteers in Lombok, Indonesia, have a neutralizing antibody to the virus. Symptoms include fever, anorexia, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and dizziness.

1964
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First well-documented infection report

Scientific Discovery

The first well-documented report of human Zika infection is reported, when researcher D.I.H. Simpson describes his own occupationally acquired illness at age 28. The infection starts with mild headache. The next day, a rash covers his face, neck, trunk, and upper arms, and spreads to his palms and soles. Transient fever, malaise, and back pain develops. By the evening of the second day of illness the fever abates, the rash fades, and he feels better. By day three, he feels well and only the rash remains, which disappeared over the next two days. The virus is isolated from serum collected while he has the fever.

18 Apr, 1945
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Virus isolated in Uganda

Scientific Discovery

Zika virus is first isolated from a sentinel rhesus monkey placed in a cage on a tree platform in the Zika Forest near Lake Victoria, Uganda. The monkey, Rhesus 766, was part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s program for research on jungle yellow fever. Two days later, Rhesus 766, still febrile, was brought to the Foundation’s laboratory at Entebbe and its serum was inoculated into mice. After 10 days all mice that were inoculated intracerebrally were sick, and a filterable transmissible agent, later named Zika virus, was isolated from the mouse brains.

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