Where did Zika come from and why is it such a threat?

THE joy of discovering new pathogens! Zika virus (ZIKV) was found in Uganda, when on 20 April 1947 a rhesus monkey (an Asian species), placed by Dr G.W.A. Dick in a cage in the canopy of the Zika Forest, developed a mild fever.

Serum from this sentinel primate (Rhesus 766) produced neurological signs in Swiss mice and a “filterable agent” (virus) was isolated. Thus, ZIKV became known to medicine.

ZIKV was rapidly identified as an arbovirus with Aedes mosquitoes as vectors, particularly the dengue mosquitoes, A. aegypti and A.