Let us talk about Zika? Find some questions and answers about the virus

The facts: Zika virus


Zika virus is currently Brazils number 1 enemy, according to the Minister of Health, Marcelo Castro. For a better understanding of the agent, doctorate students Mariana Kikuti, Igor Paploski e Laura Tauro,  along with Fiocruz-BA researcher Dr. Guilherme Ribeiro, built a Q&A about the theme.

Find the material below:

What is Zika?

Zika is an emerging viral disease caused by Zika virus (ZIKV), a RNA virus from the flaviviridae family.

In which countries has Zika cases been identified?

ZIKV was first isolated in Uganda, Africa in 1947. ZIKV outbreaks have been reported in Africa, Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands. In the Americas, the native circulation of the ZIKV was first confirmed in 2014 in Easter Island (Chile). Later, in 2015, the virus presence was reported in Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Suriname and Paraguay.

In which Brazilian regions were Zika cases identified?

In Brazil, in May 2015, the first native ZIKV cases were confirmed. Six months later, 18 Brazilian states have laboratory confirmations of the autochthonous circulation: North region (Amazonas, Para, Rondonia, Roraima and Tocantins), Northeast region (Alagoas, Bahia, Ceara, Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí and Rio Grande do Norte), Southeast region (Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo), Center-West region (Mato Grosso) and South region (Paraná).

How is Zika transmitted?

The Zika virus is transmitted through the bite of the mosquito from the Aedes genus, which can also transmit the viruses of Dengue and Chikungunya. There are reports of ZIKV transmission by sexual intercourse, blood and peri-natal transfusions, but these transmission routes seem to have little relevance for public health means.

Which are the signs and symptoms of Zika virus acute infection?

The Zika clinical signs are similar to those from Dengue fever, typically causing a disease evidenced by rashes, itching, which may be accompanied by low fever, arthralgia, headaches, myalgia and conjunctivitis (Cardoso 2015, Musso 2014).

Is there evidence of clinical complications related to Zika virus infection?

Preliminary analysis suggest an association between ZIKV and complications, as Guillain-Barre neurological syndrome and microcephaly in newborns.

How is Zika diagnosed?

The ZIKV infection diagnostic is made by RT-PCR (Reverse tran ase-polymerase chain reaction). Up to the moment, there are no commercial ELISA kits (Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay) to detect IgG and IgM. The cross-reaction potential with other flaviviruses, as Dengue virus, troubles the development of serological assays.

How can I prevent Zika?

There is no vaccine against Zika virus. Control measures are based in reducing the density of the mosquito from the Aedes genus, as proposed to prevent dengue and chikungunya. In addition, the mosquito bite should be avoided by using insect repellents, window screens or any mean to avoid contact between the mosquito and the person.…