From October 2015 to January 2016, there were almost 4,000 cases of babies born with microcephaly in Brazil. Before then, there were just 150 cases per year.
The suspected culprit is a mosquito-borne virus called Zika. Raw Story
Zika has a lot in common with dengue and chikungunya, another emergent virus. All three originated from West and central Africa and Southeast Asia, but have recently expanded their range to include much of the tropics and subtropics globally. And they are all spread by the same species of mosquitoes.
Until 2007 very few cases of Zika in humans were reported. Then an outbreak occurred on Yap Island of Micronesia, infecting approximately 75% of the population. Six years later, the virus appeared in French Polynesia, along with outbreaks of dengue and chikungunya viruses. Malaysian Insider
Zika has been identified in the saliva and urine of two patients infected by the virus, a leading Brazilian health institute said on Friday, adding that further studies are needed to determine if those fluids could transmit the infection.
Scientists at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, a public health institute, said they used genetic testing to identify the virus in samples from two patients while they had symptoms and were known to have Zika, the mosquito-borne viral infection that has sparked a global health scare.
It is the first time the virus has been detected in saliva and urine, scientists told reporters in Rio de Janeiro. The virus was deemed active, meaning that it was able to cause infection, but the scientists stressed that it was too early to say whether Zika could be transmitted by either fluid.
“That fact that the virus was found with the capacity to cause infection is not proof that it can contaminate other people through those fluids,” said Myrna Bonaldo, one of the scientists who made the discovery. NYPost