Zika Epidemic in Americas Began with Single Introduction in 2013

In a recent article published in Science, researchers sequenced Zika virus (ZIKV) genomes isolated from 7 different Brazilian patients and concluded that the American strains of Zika virus share a common ancestor with strains from French Polynesia. Furthermore, data suggest that the Brazilian epidemic was started from a single infection occurred between May and December 2013, more than 12 months before the virus was first identified in Brazil. The estimated date of origin coincides with an increase in air passengers to Brazil from ZIKV-endemic areas, as well as with reported outbreaks in the Pacific Islands.

A recently updated Bulletin from the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB, see attachment) on Zika virus highlights the role of blood transfusion in the transmission of the infection and assists AABB members who are collecting blood in locations not currently infected with Zika to alter the donor history questionnaire and comply with recommendations to defer donors for four weeks for possible Zika virus exposure.

Science. 2016 Apr 15;352(6283):345-9. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf5036. Epub 2016 Mar 24.

Zika virus in the Americas: Early epidemiological and genetic findings.

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