[The Recent Epidemic Spread of Zika Virus Disease].Uirusu. 2018; 68(1):1-12.U
Zika virus (ZIKV) is one of the members of the Spondweni serocomplex within the genus Flavivirus of the family Flaviviridae. The virus was first isolated from a serum specimen from a sentinel non-human primate in the Zika forest of Uganda in 1947. ZIKV is transmitted by Aedes aegypti and A. albopictus in an urban cycle and maintained in a sylvatic cycle between Aedes mosquitoes and monkeys in Africa and Asia. Initially, the virus was thought to cause only mild and nonspecific clinical symptoms in humans. However, ZIKV became a serious public health concern in recent years due to an association with congenital malformation known as microcephaly in newborns as well as Guillain-Barré syndrome and other neurologic disorders in adults. The severe nature of complications of ZIKV infection have led to an urgent need for a safe and effective vaccine worldwide including Japan. The first large outbreak of disease caused by ZIKV infection was reported from the island of Yap, Micronesia in 2007. It was followed by outbreaks in French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Ester Island, and New Caledonia in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, ZIKV outbreak was reported in Brazil and has spread across the Latin America, and the Caribbean. The exact prevalence of ZIKV infection has not been reported because of the absence of a standardized protocol for differential diagnosis and its clinical resemblance to dengue virus and other flavivirus infections. In Japan, the first human case of ZIK fever, who developed illness soon after returning from French Polynesia, was reported in 2013, and until 2017, 20 imported cases were documented. Currently, research on ZIKV has progressed remarkably thus this article aims to review recent progress in virology, epidemiology, and pathology of ZIKV infection.