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expert reaction to paper mapping climate and air travel and identifies countries in Africa and Asia at risk of Zika virus

A group of researchers publishing in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal have applied modelling methods to examine the potential areas for future Zika virus outbreaks, based on air travel patterns from virus-affected areas and locations of the mosquito vector. They reported which countries in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region are vulnerable to the virus. read more

Oxitec Ltd and its GM mosquitoes – two visitors from Brazil

Oxitec Ltd, the company that developed a self-limited genetically engineered mosquito, has been working with health authorities in Piracicaba, Brazil, in attempt to reduce the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the species that transmits diseases including dengue, chikungunya and Zika. Dengue has been the main mosquito-transmitted disease affecting Piracicaba. Oxitec’s Head of Field Operations, Dr Andrew McKemey, and Dr Pedro Mello, the Secretary of Health for Piracicaba in Brazil, will be in the UK next week and are available to answer any questions you might have about the science behind the GM mosquito, what stage their current mosquito release programme is at, and what the situation is in Piracicaba. Piracicaba City Hall partnered with Oxitec in March 2015 to use the mosquitoes and that programme is now being extended to a larger area of the city. read more

Zika virus and the Rio Olympics

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, will begin in early August. The Zika virus outbreak is ongoing in some parts of Brazil (among other countries in the Americas and the Pacific). read more

expert reaction to study on the genome analysis of the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil

The current outbreak of Zika infection in South and Central America is the focus of much research and a paper published in the journal Science has attempted to work out when Zika virus first arrived in Brazil. The research team report that the first human infection with Zika was detected in November 2015 and that introduction to Brazil probably occurred between May-December 2013. read more

expert reaction to modelling study looking at Zika infection and microcephaly cases in the 2013-14 Zika outbreak in French Polynesia

A group of scientists have published their work in The Lancet journal in which they retrospectively analysed data from a previous Zika outbreak in French Polynesia. In their follow up modelling study they reported Zika virus infection during the first trimester of pregnancy led to higher than expected rates of microcephaly. The association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly, however, has not been precisely quantified. read more

expert reaction to study looking at patients diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) during the Zika virus outbreak in French Polynesia in 2013-2014

Publishing in The Lancet journal a group of researchers have analysed data from a previous outbreak of Zika virus in French Polynesia and report that of 42 patients diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome at the time, all showed signs of an immune response against Zika whereas only half of those in a control group did. read more

expert reaction to modelling study looking at incomplete personal protection coverage in vector-borne disease

Publishing in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface a group of scientists have used a model to analyse the use of personal protection techniques, such as netting and insect repellents, for the avoidance of diseases spread by carriers like mosquitoes. From this model they suggested some circumstances under which such devices might increase disease in the unprotected portion of the population. read more

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