Zika Virus 2023

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Last reviewed
May 25, 2023
Content Overview
Zika is a mosquito transmitted virus that causes Microcephaly in the fetus of infected pregnant women. The FDA has not approved a Zika vaccine in May 2023.

Zika Virus May 2023

Zika is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes caused by the Zika virus (ZIKV), says the World Health Organization (WHO). About 25% of infected people may develop Zika symptoms. However, the illness is usually mild, lasting between two and seven days, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Since its first detection in March 2014, and as of March 2023, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) confirmed local transmission of Zika in all countries and territories in the Region of the Americas, except for continental Chile, Uruguay, and Canada. The PAHO confirmed 40,249 Zika cases were reported in the Americas in 2022. In 2022, the highest numbers of Zika cases in the Americas were reported in Brazil, with 34,176 patients, Belize 2,508, Guatemala 1,815, Paraguay 1,094, and Bolivia, with 190.

Zika in Puerto Rico

The U.S. CDC says because the mosquitoes that spread Zika are found throughout Puerto Rico, people living on the island who have not already been infected are at risk for infection. In addition, the Puerto Rico Department of Health Weekly Arboviral Diseases report indicates the Zika virus will continue to infect people in 2023. Puerto Rico's Weekly Report Arboviral Diseases #19 indicates 25 probable Zika cases as of May 25, 2023.

Zika in Europe

In 2022, the European CDC reported that 31,453 Zika patients were confirmed in 13 of 52 countries and territories. In Europe, two imported Zika virus infections were confirmed by the Hungary National Reference Laboratory of Viral Zoonoses of the National Center for Public Health on February 27, 2023. The two infected persons had previously been to Thailand. In addition, the WHO reported in 2019 that French authorities confirmed an autochthonous Zika virus case in Hyeres, Var department.

Zika in Argentina

U.K. health authorities have classified Argentina as having a risk of Zika virus transmission in South America in 2022.

Zika in Brazil

In 2022, over 34,000 Zika cases were reported in Brazil. There was a 92% increase compared to the same period in 2021. There have been no related fatalities from Zika in 2022. Although the Northeast and Southeast regions were likely to continue to have the highest total infection numbers, consistency-weighted, population-standardized rates highlighted hotspot states within all five regions in Brazil, reported the CDC. The Arbovirus Surveillance Strengthening Project was launched in Brazil in 2022. Furthermore, as per Brazilian authorities, since 2014, over 1,638 babies have been born with microcephaly-related defects.

Zika Virus in India

Frontiers in Microbiology published Original Research in June 2022, indicating the spread of the Zika virus to several states of India and an urgent need to strengthen its surveillance.

Zika Virus Transmission

Zika is primarily spread by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus, but it can also be passed during sex from a person infected with Zika to a sexual partner, says the CDC

Zika Virus and Microcephaly

Microcephaly is a condition where a baby's head is much smaller than expected. A baby's head grows during pregnancy because the baby's brain grows. However, microcephaly can occur because a baby's brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size. Severe microcephaly is a more serious, extreme form of this condition where a baby's head is much smaller than expected.

Zika Virus and Pregant Women

To evaluate whether pregnant women understood how to protect themselves against Zika, the Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDH) and the U.S. CDC conducted a population-based survey of women who gave birth to a live infant during August—December 2016. This survey determined there are no known ways to prevent the adverse effects of Zika infection during pregnancy. Still, pregnant women can protect themselves from Zika infection in several ways.

Zika Virus History

The Zika virus was first isolated in 1947 in the Zika forest in Uganda (Africa). Since then, Zika has caused small, sporadic outbreaks in Africa, Asia, and South America. In 2007, a large epidemic was described on the Island of Yap (Micronesia), where about 75% of the population was infected. In 2014, Chile notified the WHO of indigenous transmission of Zika virus fever on Easter Island. Then, in May 2015, the public health authorities of Brazil confirmed the transmission of the Zika virus. In 2021, the CDC confirmed (2) travel-associated and (32) Zika casU.S.n U.S. territories. In the U.S., U.S. states reported 224 locally acquired Zika cases.