Zika virus: first described in Transactions!

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Tuesday, 26 January 2016
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Zika virus is an arbovirus native to Africa,  transmitted via Aedes mosquitoes. The infection causes symptoms including mild fever, conjunctivitis and headache. In May 2015, locally acquired cases of Zika virus were confirmed in Brazil. Since then, it has spread to 21 countries in the Caribbean, North and South America and WHO has warned that the virus is likely to spread across nearly all of the Americas. The lack of any natural immunity in the Americas is thought to be helping the infection to spread rapidly and there is currently no treatment or vaccine.

It is hitting the headlines as it has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains, with some countries advising women not to get pregnant. The CDC has issued a travel alert for people travelling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing; in addition, the Brazilian authorities have announced plans to prevent the spread of the Zika virus during the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games later this year.

Looking back through the RSTMH archive, the Zika virus was first described in the published literature in 1952 by Dick et al in two papers in Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. Scientists researching yellow fever in 1947 placed a rhesus macaque in a cage in the Zika Forest near the East African Virus Research Institute in Entebbe, Uganda. The monkey developed a fever, and researchers isolated from its serum a transmissible agent that was first described as Zika virus in 1952. We've made those two papers, along with four other Zika virus papers from the 1950s, freely available until 29 February:

Zika virus (I). Isolations and serological specificity, Dick GWA, Kitchen SFM Haddow AJ

Zika virus (II). Pathogenicity and physical properties, Dick GWA

Zika virus: A report on three cases of human infection during an epidemic of jaundice in Nigeria, MacNamara FN

A simple technique for infection of mosquitoes with viruses: transmission of Zika virus, Boorman JPT and Porterfield JS

Zika virus infection experimentally induced in a human volunteer, Bearcroft WGC

Zika virus: further isolations in the Zika area, and some studies on the strains isolated, Weinbren MP and Williams MC

From its discovery until 2007, confirmed cases of Zika virus infection from Africa and Southeast Asia were rare and until recently there has not been much published on the Zika virus. More research and data is needed to understand this virus and its transmission.

Call for papers

Publish your research alongside the original research by Dick et al in Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropcial Medicine & Hygiene. We are looking for original research papers on the Zika virus.

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Find out more here - and submit your paper online

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