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Mar/2016 – Zika virus spreads out

Since early 80s, the Brazilian population has been affected by dengue, and in the last two years comes out the report the occurrence of both chikungunya and zika viruses, which is supposed to have the same vector (the mosquito Aedes aegypti) as dengue fever. This public health issue called even more attention because at the same time some reports pointed out an increase of microcephaly and brain damage in newborn babies.

A recent paper (http://dx.doi.org/10.3855/jidc.8217) published in The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries by researchers (Heukelbach et al.) from school of medicine at UFC reports the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil. In the last year, it were estimated 440000 – 1300000 Zika cases in Brazil and about 4783 suspected cases of microcephaly. This infection is spreading out rapidly within the Americas after the first cases reported in Brazil. In the paper, they described the current Zika virus infection in Brazil and the possible neurological symptoms arising from the infection. It is still not clear the relationship between microcephaly and Zika virus infection, but the virus were detected in the cerebrospinal fluid of patientes with acute neurological syndromes, in blood and tissue samples of a newborn and in mothers who had given birth to infants with microcephaly and ophthalmological anomalies.

Distribution of reported cases of microcephaly in Brazil from July 2015 to February 2016 (reproduced from The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries 10, 116-120 (2016)

Distribution of reported cases of microcephaly in Brazil from July 2015 to February 2016 (reproduced from The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries 10, 116-120 (2016)

Clinical and epidemiological studies must be performed aiming to describe viral dynamics and expansion of the Zika virus outbreak.
The full reference of the paper is:
Zika virus outbreak in Brazil
J. Heukelbach, C. H. Alencar, A. A. Kelvin, W. K. de Oliveira, L. P. G. Cavalcanti
The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries 10, 116-120 (2016)
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3855/jidc.8217