When the Zika virus was first discovered in Uganda in the 1940s, it was thought to be harmless. It caused a rash and, in some cases, a slightly elevated temperature. But in the past few months in Brazil, it has been linked with something far worse: microcephaly (an abnormally small brain and head) in newborn babies. In adults an increased incidence of a rare neurological disorder called Guillan-Barre syndrome has also been linked with Zika infection. This is associated with muscles weakness, paralysis and can be fatal. Zika is anything but harmless.
Bibliographical noteNeil Vargesson receives or has received funding for his research group from the Royal Society, Wellcome Trust, Imperial College London, University of Aberdeen.
Lavinia Faccini receives funding from Brazilian National Research and Technology Council (CNPQ - Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento Tecnológico).
- Zika virus