Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Join

Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Infectious diseases

Origins of the Zika outbreak and its potential threat

Researchers are working to understand more about the Zika virus — how it is transmitted, its link to microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome and whether a vaccine can be developed.

Infographic showing the origins of the zika outbreak and its potential threat

Origins of the zika outbreak and its potential threat

Download a PDF of the full information graphic

Graph showing reported Zika virus cases around the world from 1947-2012

Reported Zika virus cases from 1947–2012

Zika virus is a flavivirus related to yellow fever, dengue, West Nile and Japanese encephalitis. It is mainly transmitted by mosquitoes and was first identified in Africa over 60 years ago. Sporadic cases were reported across equatorial Africa and Asia before the first major outbreak in Yap Island, Micronesia, in 2007.

Map showing the outbreak of the zika virus from 2013-2016, principally focusing on South America

Explosion of cases: reported Zika virus cases from 2013–2016

Following outbreaks in the Pacific, the virus then spread to the Americas, where large numbers of people have become infected and possible links to microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome have been identified.

Zika virus: transmission, symptoms and diagnosis

Zika virus: transmission, symptoms and diagnosis

The main route of transmission for Zika virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito, although other routes have been reported. Symptoms develop 2–10 days after infection and are usually mild, lasting up to a week. There is no specific treatment.

The aedes mosquito: breeding, habitat and global distribution

The Aedes mosquito: breeding, habitat and global distribution

The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever, is the main vector for Zika. The mosquito has distinctive white markings on its legs and thorax, and breeds in clean, standing water.

Microcephaly and link to the Zika virus

Microcephaly and link to the Zika virus

A causal link between Zika virus and microcephaly has not yet been established but evidence is mounting.

What is Guillian-Barre syndrome?

Guillain-Barré syndrome and link to the Zika virus

An increase in rare neurological condition Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been reported in Zika hit areas, but a causal link is yet to be established.

List of companies that are currently working on vaccines to combat the zika virus

Zika virus: vaccine development

Several companies are working to develop a vaccine against Zika but a commercially available product is likely to be several years away.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20200765

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Infographic showing the origins of the zika outbreak and its potential threat
  • Graph showing reported Zika virus cases around the world from 1947-2012
  • Map showing the outbreak of the zika virus from 2013-2016, principally focusing on South America
  • Zika virus: transmission, symptoms and diagnosis
  • The aedes mosquito: breeding, habitat and global distribution
  • Microcephaly and link to the Zika virus
  • What is Guillian-Barre syndrome?
  • List of companies that are currently working on vaccines to combat the zika virus

Supplementary information

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.