Brazilian research proves Aedes aegypti mosquito as source of Zika virus!

Since its outbreak in early 2015, Brazil is the country hit hardest by Zika virus .

Last Updated: May 24, 2016, 14:48 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: In a latest research, the Brazilian health authorities finally confirmed that Aedes aegypti mosuito as the source of Zika virus which is responsible for causing microcephaly- a birth defect categorized by smaller head- in hundreds of babies .

Since its outbreak in early 2015, Brazil is the country hit hardest by Zika virus . According to The Globe and Mail reports, there are 1,332 confirmed cases of fetal Zika syndrome, and another 3,332 under investigation.

Not only this, Zika virus is also linked with the rising cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, which causes paralysis.

The researchers, from the Oswaldo Cruz Institute, yesterday confirmed they had found the virus in three groups of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes collected in neighborhoods in northern Rio de Janeiro state.
They said Zika had previously only been detected once in mosquitoes in the Americas, in a recently published Mexican study that found the virus in the Aedes albopictus species.

The Brazilian researchers collected almost 1500 adult mosquitoes over 10 months, around half of them Aedes aegypti. The latter were the only ones in which Zika was detected, they said.

That "reinforces the evidence that A. aegypti must be the most frequent Zika transmission vector in Brazil," they said in a statement on the institute's website, adding that they were in the process of publishing their results.

Zika, a tropical virus that originated in Africa, can cause relatively mild, influenza-like symptoms.

But since the outbreak was detected in Brazil in October last year, authorities have reported a surge in babies born with microcephaly - a condition that causes abnormally small heads and brains - after their mothers were infected with the virus.

The health ministry said last Wednesday that 1384 babies had been born with the condition and 59 had died since the outbreak began.

The World Health Organization, which has labelled the suspected link between Zika and microcephaly an international emergency, said yesterday that a "massive policy failure" on mosquito control and access to family planning services was to blame for the crisis.

Zika has also been linked to neurological problems including Guillain-Barre Syndrome, in which the immune system attacks the nervous system, causing paralysis and sometimes death.

The virus can also be transmitted through sexual contact, but is believed to be spread mainly by mosquitoes.

(With AFP inputs)