Zika virus on the rise

It was in BNITM’s National Reference Centre for Tropical Pathogens where the first case of a Zika infection imported into Europe was diagnosed in 2013. By the end of 2015, there were four. Travellers had been infected in Tahiti, Borneo and more recently, in Brazil.

Original Zika biotope
Original Zika biotope

They came down with mild fever, skin eruptions, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, ankle oedema, and swollen lymph nodes. Temporary hearing impairment was found in one case, apparently due to involvement of the central nervous system. Most recently, a co-incidence of prenatal deformations and Zika infections during pregnancy was observed in Brazil. The virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 and later spread to tourist places in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia, and more recently Senegal and Latin America.

Similar to the related Dengue virus, Zika is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, and therefore, outbreaks might occur in large parts of Southern Europe where the tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus is firmly established.


Tappe D. et al., Euro Surveill 2014, 19: pii: 20685;
Tappe D. et al., Emerg Infect Dis 2015, 21:911-3;
Zammarchi L. et al., Euro Surveill 2015;20 pii: 21153;
Zammarchi L. et al., J Clin Virol 2015 Feb, 63:32-5.

Dennis Tappe, Stephan Günther, Lisa Oestereich, Daniel Cadar, Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit and 
external co-operation partners (see publication)