Zika Virus Infection: An Emerging Mosquito-Borne Disease Threatening Global Health

DOI: 10.6525/TEB.20160920.32(18).001

Maria Fernanda Avila Mejia1*, Dar-Der Ji1,2

2016 Vol.32 NO.18

Correspondence Author: Maria Fernanda Avila Mejia1*

  • 1International Health Program,National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan
  • 2Department of Tropical Medicine,National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan


Zika virus is an arbovirus of the Flaviviridae family consisting of two strains, Asian and African, and is transmitted mostly by Aedes mosquitoes. It was first discovered in a monkey during the 1940s. Until 2007 the virus had not been detected outside Africa and Asia and it was characterized as a mild infection with fast recovery and no fatalities. Its clinical manifestations are similar to dengue fever and chikungunya fever as a fever with rash, myalgia, arthralgia and headache. But since the 2013 outbreak in French Polynesia, neurological complications following the disease were identified. The virus has continued to spread and has extended to Oceania and has now arrived at the American Continent in 2015. Brazil was the first country in the Americas where Zika virus was identified. Since an increase of cases of microcephaly was detected in areas with the highest virus infection rates, Zika virus has been thought to be the cause of this congenital malformation. Laboratory confirmation of Zika virus infection relies mostly on the detection of viral RNA or specific antibodies in blood samples. There are no vaccines or specific medication to prevent or treat this disease. Zika virus infection is present in almost all countries of America and the first imported case has already been detected in Taiwan in January 16, 2016 at Taoyuan International Airport. Zika virus infection is becoming an extra-burden to tropical countries that are already endemic for dengue and chikungunya which share the same mosquito vectors.Unless drastic actions are taken early to control the Zika virus infection, it is likely that the virus will keep spreading and affecting the health of millions of people worldwide.

Keywords:Zika virus infection, Mosquito-borne disease, Dengue, Chikungunya, Microcephaly,Aedes