The Zika Virus is an emerging mosquito-borne virus transmitted by the daytime-active Aedes Mosquito.
What is the Zika virus?
First identified in Rhesus monkeys in Uganda in 1947, then humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Disease outbreaks in humans have been reported in the Pacific in 2007 and French Polynesia 2013, however the most recent has been in Brazil, Columbia (South America) and Cape Verde (Africa) in 2015.
On February 1st 2016 the WHO declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in connection with increased cases of microcephaly and neurological disorders in affected areas.
Zika Outbreak: WHO's Global Emergency Response Plan
On February 16th 2016 the WHO launched a global Strategic Response Framework and Joint Operations Plan to guide the international response to the spread of Zika virus infection and the neonatal malformations and neurological conditions associated with it.
Dr Luciana Brondi, Global Health Academy
Global Health Academy member Dr Luciana Brondi is a physician and epidemiologist. Prior to joining the university, Luciana worked as a Senior Technical Advisor on Communicable Diseases Control both on a consultancy basis and also with the Department of Global Program Operations at JHPIEGO (affiliated to the Johns Hopkins University).
Luciana’s research areas include infectious diseases epidemiology and control, with a focus on respiratory infectious diseases. She is a member of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and of the TBTEAM Expert Roster.
The current Zika epidemic is tragic but it provides a unique opportunity for the Americas to rethink their commitment to control of neglected tropical diseases. Moreover, it highlights the importance of addressing inequalities in the continent in order to improve wellbeing and health for all.