Sifa Medical Journal

: 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 56--57

Zika virus disease outbreaks in the American region in 2015-2016

Saurabh R Shrivastava, Prateek S Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy 
 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Zika virus disease outbreaks in the American region in 2015-2016.Sifa Med J 2016;3:56-57

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Zika virus disease outbreaks in the American region in 2015-2016. Sifa Med J [serial online] 2016 [cited 2024 Feb 24 ];3:56-57
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Full Text


Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne virus that was first isolated in humans in 1952 from the African region. It is a flavivirus that is predominantly transmitted by the bite of Aedes mosquitoes, and has an unknown reservoir. [1] Since then, the outbreaks of the Zika virus disease (ZVD) have been reported from the African, Pacific (2007 and 2013), Asian, and American regions. [1],[2] The most recent outbreak of ZVD started in April 2015 and since then till January 2016, more than 13 nations of the American region have reported its outbreak. [2]

Though, patients generally present with similar symptoms like that of any arboviral disease (viz., fever, maculopapular rash, myalgia, malaise, conjunctivitis, etc.), infection during the antenatal period has resulted in fetal brain abnormality and microcephaly. [1],[3] Further, the disease can be confirmed through real-time polymerase chain reaction and isolation of the virus from the patients' blood sample. [4] In addition, it has been suggested that if the presence of the Zika virus in a specific region has been demonstrated, mandatory confirmation from all patients has not been advocated. [1] It is also important to understand that anyone who has no history of exposure to the virus, but now lives in an area where the mosquito is present, and imported or local cases have been isolated, might be infected. [2]

Further, in order to prevent the disease, the best way is to prevent mosquito bites either by source reduction, reduction in the number of natural and artificial water-filled habitats and other antilarval measures, antiadult measures or by personal protective measures. [1],[2],[3] However, more attention is needed for the travellers and the vulnerable sections (young children, sick individuals, pregnant women, and elderly) as they cannot protect themselves. [2],[3],[5] As the disease is mild in nature, no specific treatment has been recommended other than the symptomatic management, fluid control, and bed rest. In-fact, no vaccine is available at present to prevent the acquisition of the infection. [1]

However, in order to control the ZVD outbreaks there is a great need to strengthen the existing surveillance mechanism; enhance the capacity of laboratories to detect the virus; implement strategies to eliminate mosquito populations; formulation of guidelines for clinical management; development of a framework to encourage risk communication to respond to the introduction of the virus in the country; continuous monitoring of the cases and associated complications; and encouragement for operational research to understand more about the characteristics of the virus, health impacts, and associated complications. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5] Nevertheless, based on the current evidence about the disease, no restriction on travel or trade has been advocated as of now. [1]

To conclude, the current outbreak of ZVD has been reported in multiple nations of the American region and if targeted interventions are not implemented along with strengthening of international health regulations, the disease can spread to multiple nations in future as well.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1World Health Organization. Zika Virus - Fact Sheet; 2016. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 13].
2Pan American Health Organization. Zika Virus Infection; 2016. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 17].
3Oliveira Melo AS, Malinger G, Ximenes R, Szejnfeld PO, Alves Sampaio S, Bispo de Filippis AM. Zika virus intrauterine infection causes fetal brain abnormality and microcephaly: Tip of the iceberg? Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2016;47:6-7.
4Buathong R, Hermann L, Thaisomboonsuk B, Rutvisuttinunt W, Klungthong C, Chinnawirotpisan P, et al. Detection of Zika virus infection in Thailand, 2012-2014. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2015;93:380-3.
5World Health Organization. Zika Virus Infection - United States of America - Puerto Rico: 2016. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 15].