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.