Zika Virus Infection: Damaging Consequences in Humans

Amadi N. Emmanuel, Njoku O. Oliver, Ufele N. Angela


An emerging arbovirus of the Flaviviridae family called ZIKV and others like dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, and Japanese encephalitis virus, causes a mosquito-borne disease transmitted by the Aedes genus, with recent outbreaks in the South Pacific. Here we examine the importance of human skin in the entry of ZIKV and its contribution to the induction of antiviral immune responses. Zika virus (ZIKV) is an arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) in the genus Flavivirus and the family Flaviviridae. ZIKV was first isolated from a nonhuman primate in 1947 and from mosquitoes in 1948 in Africa, and ZIKV infections in humans were sporadic for half a century before emerging in the Pacific and the Americas. ZIKV is usually transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. The clinical presentation of Zika fever is nonspecific and can be misdiagnosed as other infectious diseases, especially those due to arboviruses such as dengue and chikungunya. There is a high potential for ZIKV emergence in urban centers in the tropics that are infested with competent mosquito vectors such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Based on clinical criteria alone, ZIKV cannot be reliably distinguished from infections with other pathogens that cause an undifferentiated systemic febrile illness, including infections with two common arboviruses, dengue virus and chikungunya virus. 


Zika Virus; Dengue virus; Chikungunya virus; Arboviruses; Microcephaly

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21859/ajlsr-040308


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