Vector Disease


What You Should Know About Zika Virus

Posted by Daniel Markowski, Ph. D. on Feb 16, 2016 10:30:27 AM
Written By The Staff at VDCI
What is Zika virus?
Zika virus (ZIKV) was first discovered in 1947 in the Zika Forest of Uganda. Shortly thereafter, it was isolated from mosquitoes in the area and then humans in 1968. ZIKV is a flavivirus similar to yellow fever, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile virus (WNV). The disease had only been detected in central Africa and throughout Southeast Asia until associated with a diesease outbreak on Yap Island, in the South Pacific in 2007. From there, it spread to South America with human cases first reported in 2014.
How does the virus spread?
ZIKV does not appear to require an animal reservoir, like WNV, which is perhaps a factor in the rapid spread throughout the Americas. Non-infected mosquitoes are able to acquire the virus after feeding directly on infected humans. Without a "middle man" in the endemic cycle of ZIKV, the virus can spread quite rapidly where abundant, competent vector mosquitoes and humans are present together. Today, there is active transmission of the virus throughout South and Central America and the Caribbean Islands. Please refer to Figure 1 in VDCI's Zika Virus Fact Sheet.
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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Zika Virus: An Emerging Mosquito-Borne Infection in the Americas

Posted by Daniel Markowski, Ph. D. on Jan 27, 2016 2:51:47 PM
Written By Broox Boze, Ph.D., Contract Supervisor in Colorado
Zika_2.0.jpgOver the past couple weeks Zika virus has taken the media by storm and US Health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued an advisory for pregnant women traveling to areas where the virus is known to be active. While this is not a new disease, it is the first time we’ve seen it in the Western Hemisphere and it is a major cause for concern as we understand more about the potential link between Zika virus and birth defects such as microcephaly.

The Zika virus was first isolated from a rhesus macaque in Uganda in 1947 and documented in humans as early as 1968. The reason we haven’t heard much about Zika until now is that the vast majority of human cases present with little to no symptoms. In fact, the CDC reports that only 1 in 5 individuals who contract the virus will become ill, and those that do will experience mild flu-like symptoms including fever, rash, joint pain, headache and conjunctivitis (red eyes).
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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases

2015 Mosquito-Borne Disease Year in Review

Posted by Daniel Markowski, Ph. D. on Jan 21, 2016 9:53:06 AM
Written By The Staff at VDCI
WNV_2015_Map.jpgIn 2015, we saw a continuation of serious mosquito-borne disease cases in the United States. This blog covers three of many diseases that were transmitted by mosquitoes in 2015: West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and chikungunya. These three represent the most common mosquito-borne diseases we find in the United States, with WNV being far and away the most common threat in U.S. territories. All of the information in this year in review post was taken from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s data points and website as of 12/31/2015.
West Nile Virus (WNV): WNV is the most common virus transmitted by mosquitoes to humans in the United States. While most infected people will have no symptoms, roughly one in five will develop symptoms that may include a combination of fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, or swollen lymph nodes. Other symptoms may include a stiff neck, sleepiness, disorientation, or even paralysis.
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Topics: Mosquito-Borne Diseases