Zika Virus Disease

Civil Defense Perspectives March 2016 Vol 32 No 3

The new public health panic, which the World Health Organization (WHO) elevated to the same level as Ebola—a Public Health Emergency of International Concern—(www.who.int/emergencies/zika-virus/en/) is a previously little known disease called Zika virus disease (ZVD). Zika virus (ZIKV) is carried by same mosquito, Aedes aegypti, as other Third World diseases, including dengue and chikungunya.

ZIKV is a flavivirus that was first identified in humans in 1947 in Uganda’s Zika Forest (http://tinyurl.com/hl3u53e). Other flaviviruses are yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, West Nile, and Japanese encephalitis. Possible cross-reactivity of antibodies complicates diagnosis. There is also concern that previous infection with or vaccination against one flavivirus might mediate antibody-dependent enhancement of a second infection. (Haug et al. NEJM, http://tinyurl.com/hwfuh3b). Continue reading