The mysterious Zika virus: Adding to the tropical flavivirus mayhem.J Postgrad Med. 2016 Oct-Dec; 62(4):249-254.JP
Until now, known as the demure cousin of dengue virus (DENV) inhabiting Africa, Zika virus (ZIKV) has reinvented itself to cause explosive epidemics captivating the Western hemisphere. The outbreak causing potential for ZIKV was realized when it made its way from Africa to Yap Island Micronesia in 2007, and in French Polynesia in 2013. From there, it moved on to Brazil in 2015. Now ZIKV has infected people in more than 33 countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Moreover the epidemiological and subsequent virological association with microcephaly cases in Brazil has prompted the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency of International Concern. ZIKV shares not only its vector Aedes aegypti with dengue and chikungunya but also the geographic distribution and clinical features, which makes the laboratory confirmation mandatory for definitive diagnosis. The serological cross-reactivity with other Flavivirus, particularly with DENV makes laboratory confirmation challenging and will place additional burden on health systems to establish molecular diagnostic facilities. The evidence of additional nonvector modes of transmission, such as perinatal, sexual as well as transfusion has made preventative strategies more difficult. As ZIKV disease continues to mystify us with several unanswered questions, it calls for coordinated effort of global scientific community to address the ever growing arboviral threat to mankind.