Anticipating the international spread of Zika virus from Brazil

In May, 2015, locally acquired cases of Zika virus—an arbovirus found in Africa and Asia-Pacific and transmitted via Aedes mosquitoes—were confirmed in Brazil. The presence of Aedes mosquitoes across Latin America, coupled with suitable climatic conditions, have triggered a Zika virus epidemic in Brazil, currently estimated at 440 000–1 300 000 cases. Viraemic travellers have now introduced Zika virus into at least 13 additional countries, where susceptible Aedes mosquitoes have become infected and perpetuated local transmission cycles. In Brazil, a precipitous surge in infants born with microcephaly and the detection of Zika virus RNA in the amniotic fluid of affected newborns has been reported. We sought to identify high-risk international pathways for the dispersion of Zika virus and global geographies conducive to autochthonous transmission.

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