Like its cousins, the dengue and chikungunya viruses, zika appeared several years ago. Two epidemics in the Pacific were recently revealed to the world: the first in Micronesia in 2007, and a second, very significant one with 55,000 patients in Polynesia at the end of 2013. A retrospective study on the dengue and chikungunya epidemic that occurred in Libreville, Gabon in 2007 has just shown that zika was also present then. This is the first time that a zika fever epidemic has been found in Africa, where it originated, and also in an urban setting. These studies also show the responsible factor: the tiger mosquito, already known to be the vector for two other arboviruses in Gabon. Knowing the global spread of this insect, these results present a new potential threat to human health around the world.
The zika virus: a new threat from the tiger mosquito
Source: Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD)