A mystery no more

1 month ago Comments Off on A mystery no more

A YEAR ago, most people would have drawn a blank if asked about Zika. Since then, an outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus that began in early 2015 in Brazil has spread to more than 60 countries in the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific islands (see chart). A study published on September 1st in the Lancet estimates that 2.6 billion people live in areas to which Zika could eventually spread. 

At first, scientists knew little more than anyone else. Zika is not new; the virus was first isolated in Africa in 1947. But it was obscure, and therefore little studied. Only during the present outbreak did it become clear that infection among pregnant women was associated with birth defects and neurological problems in babies. But there has been much progress, and scientists now know far more about the disease than they did when the outbreak began.

Start with transmission. The vast majority of…Continue reading
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