Zika, a species of the genus flavivirus spread mostly by mosquitoes, is associated with mild symptoms in most adults, but with more severe complications in pregnant women and young children. It’s linked to microcephaly, a birth defect in which the brain doesn’t develop properly, which in rare cases can cause paralysis and death. Mosquitos aren’t the only animals that harbor Zika — primates do, as well. With that top of mind and in an effort to predict the disease’s spread, researchers at IBM and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies used machine learning techniques to develop models that isolate likely carriers. They describe their work in a paper published in the journal Epidemics. “When modeling disease … data gaps can undermine our ability to predict where people are at risk. Globally, only two primate species have been confirmed positive for Zika virus,” Barbara Han, a disease ecologist at Cary Institute, said in a statement. … [Read more...] about AI identifies which primates could be carrying the Zika virus
Zika virus epidemic
A cellular protein that interacts with invading viruses appears to help enable the infection process of the Zika virus, according to an international team of researchers who suggest this protein could be a key target in developing new therapies to prevent or treat Zika virus infection. Scientists first isolated Zika, a member of the Flaviviridae family of viruses -- which also includes yellow fever, dengue and West Nile viruses -- in 1947 and, until recently, it typically caused only mild symptoms in humans. However, health officials first recorded larger outbreaks of the mosquito-borne virus in 2007, culminating in a large epidemic in the Western Hemisphere in 2015-2016. For the first time, Zika infection also was associated with severe symptoms, including microcephaly in infants infected in the womb, and Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults. These acute symptoms and the rapid spread of the virus prompted the World Health Organization to declare Zika a public health emergency of … [Read more...] about Cellular Protein a Target for Zika Control
Home News Health Daily news 8 January 2019 THOUSANDS of Zika virus cases went unreported in Cuba in 2017, according to an analysis of data on travellers to the Caribbean island. Veiling them may have led to many other cases that year. The analysis suggests that Zika infections peaked in Cuba in the second half of 2017, at a time when the virus was waning in mainland North and South America. Cuban authorities didn’t follow the agreed practice of notifying the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) of the outbreak. Cuba’s first case of Zika occurred in March 2016. A PAHO report says the country stopped providing updates on Zika in January 2017. In press reports in May 2017, Cuba said that nearly 1900 infections had been detected up to that point. But Nathan Grubaugh at the Yale School of Public Health and his colleagues estimate that the total cases in 2017 alone would have been more than double that at 5700. … [Read more...] about Exclusive: Cuba failed to report thousands of Zika virus cases in 2017
Researchers have generated six Zika virus antibodies that could be used to test for and possibly treat a mosquito-borne disease that has infected more than 1.5 million people worldwide. The antibodies "may have the dual utility as diagnostics capable of recognizing Zika virus subtypes and may be further developed to treat Zika virus infection," corresponding author Ravi Durvasula, MD, and colleagues report in a study published in the journal PLOS ONE. Dr. Durvasula is professor and chair of the department of medicine of Loyola Medicine and Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. First author is Adinarayana Kunamneni, PhD, a research assistant professor in Loyola's department of medicine. Zika is spread mainly by mosquitos. Most infected people experience no symptoms or mild symptoms such as a rash, mild fever and red eyes. But infection during pregnancy can cause miscarriages, stillbirths and severe birth defects such as microcephaly. Zika virus is a textbook example … [Read more...] about Researchers Produce Six Antibodies to Combat Zika Virus
By Jon CohenOct. 31, 2018 , 11:55 AM When the Zika virus exploded in the Americas in 2015, it quickly became an international scare: Pregnant women, bitten by infected mosquitoes, could pass the virus to their babies, some of whom suffered brain malformations as a result. But the epidemic eventually wound down, thanks in part to large swaths of populations developing immunity. Now, scientists in Brazil have discovered that more than a third of the wild monkeys they tested for Zika have been infected, the strongest evidence yet that a “reservoir” for the disease outside of humans has the potential to form. “We found this phenomenon in two different cities at the same time, so [infected monkeys] are more common than we think,” says Maurício Lacerda Nogueria, a virologist at the São José do Rio Preto School of Medicine in Brazil, who led the new study. Even though his team is still a long way from showing that the monkeys spread the virus between … [Read more...] about Are wild monkeys becoming a reservoir for Zika virus in the Americas?