2220MED Epidemiology

Table of Contents


Critically examine the literature about zika virus, which is a communicable disease.

Agent’s role

Environmental and host factors

Response and policy options



First identified in 1947 among a group of Ugandan monkeys, the Zika virus strain was discovered.

Later, the virus was discovered in humans in 1952 in Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania.

Flavivirus is transmitted by mosquitoes. It is commonly transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which are primary and only capable of biting during the day.

This viral strain was responsible for the spread of disease across Africa and Asia in the 1960s and 1980s.

The Pacific and America have been affected by similar epidemics.

The symptoms include muscle joint pains, fevers and headaches.

This essay will focus on the details of Zika virus. It is a serious communicable disease threat that exists in today’s world.

This essay will critically examine the literature on the most important aspects of the Zika virus strain.

These sections will provide information on the current research regarding the role of disease transmitting agent, the various host and environmental factors involved in disease transmission, as well as policy frameworks and response strategies. Finally, a discussion will be held about the future practices that can be used to manage this deadly virus.



According to the World Health Organization’s informative factsheet, Aedes mosquito is the main infectious agent responsible for Zika virus disease transmission.

Similar findings were made in a 2014 research by Oehler et al. (2014). This study focused on a case of a French Polynesia woman who had Zika virus symptoms and was further aggravated with Guillain Barre Syndrome.

The case study revealed similar symptoms to dengue virus.

This research was done by the authors who highlighted the Zika virus’ arboviral nature. They also supported the role of Zika virus transmitting agents, specifically the Aeges genus mosquitoes.

Because of the lack of extensive research on Zika virus incidence and similar symptoms to dengue influence, patients with Zika virus are often misunderstood as having dengue.

Fauci & Moren (2018) in The New England Journal of Medicine stated that Zika virus was transmitted by vector agents.

The term “arbovirus” refers to a broad range of viral strains transmitted by arthropods such as ticks or mosquitoes. They are distinguished by their ability to transmit rapidly, as highlighted by the authors. This is due to the carefully selected offspring being implanted in mammalian and bird bodies and with the help of blood-feeding.

It is amazing that Zika virus has a pandemic effect, given its history. This strain was relatively unknown until it was discovered in Uganda in the 1950s (Fauci & Moren 2018).

Gao and colleagues (2016) examined the rapid transmission of Zika virus infection by agents using mathematical modeling analysis.

It is possible to trace the origins of the Aedes aegypti concern, which can be traced back to villages in Africa where the affected villagers were involved in water storage in vessels.

The vector agents are attracted to undiscovered water sources, which allows them to lay their eggs. This results in rapid growth of an infectious disease-carrying population. They transmit infection to humans by feeding on blood.

Fonseca and colleagues (2014) highlighted the case of a Canadian woman who returned to Thailand with Zika virus infection symptoms. However, mild symptoms are not uncommon.

A. aegypti is responsible for Zika disease transmission. This can be characterized by the appearance of symptoms similar to dengue, such as muscle pains and mild fever, eyes pain, prostration, and maculapapular skin rash (Fonseca, et al. 2014).

Host and Environmental Factors

Despite the fact that Zika virus has been spreading rapidly, despite being a potential danger arbovirus, little research and information exists about the environmental and host factors that favor its transmission.

Messina and colleagues (2016) sought to identify such favorable environments through their research using a species distribution mapping map.

In their research, the authors identified areas with high disease incidences in sub-tropical and tropical climates.

The highest risk areas were identified in Brazil, Columbia, and Venezeula, Latin American countries. Sub-Saharan Africa was also a significant part of the study area. Some regions of North America, including the southeast region of Texas stretching towards Florida, are also affected.

Although there have been no outbreaks of disease in India, the climate conditions in a large portion of the subcontinent are favorable (Messina and al., 2016).

Fuller and colleagues (2017) have highlighted the various environmental, behavioral, and climatic factors that favor Zika virus disease transmission through screening urine and sera samples from different Rio De Janeiro municipalities.

Research revealed a positive correlation between rainfall and Zika virus infection.

This could be because of the increased amount of water bodies that occurs during monsoons, which are highly conducive to the laying eggs and transmission of disease-carrying agents to offspring (Fuller, et al. 2017, 2017).

Many host factors play a role in the transmission of Zika virus infection, as well as the environmental factors.

Padilha (2018) conducted the following research to examine the physiological, biological, and behavioral aspects of the affected vector.

This vector-oriented approach may be useful in understanding the causes of disease transmission and ensuring that disease is transmitted as efficiently as possible.

This research was done by injecting Zika virus strains into female Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes.

Results showed no association between the virus injection and mosquito activity, such as egg laying.

The results showed that there was a marked decrease in movement and locomotion in the injected mosquitoes. This could increase the risk of infection transmission in homes with restricted movements or crowded areas (Padilha and al., 2018).

Russell et. al. (2016) praised this research, stating that a decrease in locomotion of mosquitoes following blood feeding activities can be attributed to an increase in blood metabolism. This is independent of viral injection.

Rodriguez-Morales (2015) continued research to identify additional factors that could lead to Zika disease transmission. These include the vulnerability of mosquitoes to breeding in open water bodies and containers, as well as the tendency to bite at night and early morning.

These factors can be used to help in future Zika virus infection treatment (Rodriguez Morales, 2015).

Possible Policy and Response

The Interim Guidelines for Prevention of Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus, prepared by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. This policy framework is one of the most important to address the increasing incidences of Zika virus. It can also be seen in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Oster et. al. (2016).

Although the disease is not symptomatic, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can have fatal consequences for the developing foetus. This includes congenital microcephaly and nervous system abnormalities, as well as death.

This report focuses on the potential health effects of Zika virus transmission and the preventive measures that can be taken to avoid them.

These policy guidelines state that men and women living in areas susceptible to Zika virus transmission should avoid having sexual relations or use condoms.

Before engaging in intimate acts, the concerned partners should discuss with each other the possibility of case history, symptom presentation, and vector transmission exposure (Oster et. al., 2016).

As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, vector-borne diseases like Zika virus are often transmitted quickly in areas of high population or excessive crowding.

Infectious diseases can be transmitted to others by the presence of people in large groups or in clusters.

The sudden rise in Zika virus cases in Latin American and North American countries, particularly Brazil, in 2015, was quickly declared a medical emergency by the World Health Organization. It is imperative that the public intervene immediately to prevent further spread (Trosemeier, et al. 2016).

The authors of a 2016 research review by Peterson et al. sought to evaluate the public response to Zika virus management in an emergency situation. This was during the Olympic Games in Brazil.

The Emergency Committee for Zika virus Management by the World Health Organization recommended that a coordinated global response be used after a national or international situation was resolved.

This would allow for improved detection, surveillance of the disease profile, and the occurrences deformities congenitally or neurologically. It could also help to reduce the likelihood of mosquitoes arising, accelerate the creation of vaccines or treatment procedures, and ultimately improve the health of the global population. (Peterson and al., 2016).

Codeco et. al. (2016) highlighted in their research paper the extensive and detailed public response and policy frameworks taken by Latin American countries such as Brazil during the sudden Zika virus disease outbreak prior to the Brazil Olympics.

Given the potential for rapid disease spread due to clustered mass gatherings during major public events, health officials and authorities in Brazil aimed to implement active programs focusing on vector control.

These programs included the active elimination of areas or sources that could increase A. aegypti’s offspring. This included management of uncovered water sources, and the avoidance of excessive crowding.

In order to receive valuable information on the prevention and management, as well as the prophylaxis and vaccinations, of vector-borne diseases, athletes and sportsmen attending the Olympics had to consult their local health care providers or the Latin American Society for Travel Medicine.

Future Recommendations

Because of the possibility of Zika virus infection spreading quickly and possibly presenting with severe symptoms, there are still situations that require immediate medical attention.

Zika virus infection is mainly associated with mild symptoms, similar to other vector-borne diseases like dengue.

The sexual transmission of Zika virus to children continues to be a problem in the world (Rasmussen and al., 2016).

Novak, Sheffield, and Burd (2016) all emphasize in their research the need for more research as well as possible future areas of investigation.

There is still much to be known about Zika virus’ chronic nature, similarities to influenza, dengue and diarrhea, as well as its potential similarity with hepatitis C. Further research has shown that the virus can be detected in bodily fluids, such as saliva, blood, urine, and genital tract secretions, as well in serum from pregnant women.

This raises questions about the best method to detect the virus, particularly in cases of sexual transmission. The viral strain can be hard to detect in urine and blood samples.

This lack of research opens the door to future recommendations for developing new diagnostic and treatment methods that will allow accurate viral detection as well as reduce the speed of the spread of disease.

The authors also stress the importance of developing sexual education programs to educate the public about the health consequences of Zika virus infection, as well as the necessary birth control methods (Novak Sheffield & Burd 2016, 2016).

Consider the potential for disease and severity of symptoms Von Seidlein and Strickman (2017) evaluated a range of intervention strategies to manage, prevent, and treat the Zika virus.

The use of insecticide-treated beds, which are convenient and practical in most homes, is one of the key new strategies.

These tactics were developed in light of the tendency of disease vector agents to live indoors or in closed spaces, particularly during the daytime.

Outdoor fogging with substances like malathion and permethrin has been proven to be a novel technique.

This technique is unlikely to be practical in the future because of the undesirable visual characteristics of fogging, and the possibility to harm harmless organisms like butterflies, honeybees, and moths.

Another novel strategy that can be useful is to release mosquitoes that have been injected with Drosophila flies strain Wolbachia. This has been shown to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases like Zika, dengue and malaria.

Another preventive strategy is to create and release mosquito males that are sterile to stop fertilization by the females. (Von Seidlein Kekule & Strickman 2017, 2017).


As a result, the literature review has shown that Zika virus still poses a public health risk and potential concern.

Zika virus infections are often associated with influenza and dengue because they share similar disease transmission mechanisms.

It is worth mentioning that Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. This vector is responsible for laying eggs in unprotected water sources, sexual dissemination biting throughout the day, and living in indoor, crowded, and clustered areas.

Public prevention and mitigation must include active education about the disease’s harmful effects, how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and the need for protection during sexual intercourse.

There has been a significant public response to the Zika virus, including policy interventions and nationalized medical improvement in Brazil.

The global Zika virus threat can be eliminated if the public health strategies mentioned above are used in conjunction with appropriate public education.

Refer to

The role of gangliosides in neurologic autoimmunity and Zika virus.

Zika virus infection in pregnant woman in Rio de Janeiro.

New England Journal of Medicine 375(24), 232-2334.

A case study on the detection and sequencing of Zika virus in amniotic fluid from fetuses suffering from microcephaly in Brazil.

The Lancet infectious diseases 16(6): 653-660.

Zika is not an excuse for missing the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro. Response to Dr Attaran’s open letter to Dr Margaret Chan (Director-General, WHO), regarding the Zika threat to the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

Zika virus in America–yet again an arbovirus threat.

New England journal medical, 374(7): 601-604.

First Zika virus-infected Canadian returning traveler.

The American journal for tropical medicine and hygiene, 91.5, 1035-1038.

2015-16. Behavioral, climatic and environmental risk factors for Zika virus and Chikungunya infections in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

PloS One, 12(11), E0188002.

A mathematical modeling analysis was used to analyze the mathematical models that were used to predict and control Zika, a mosquito-borne, sexually transmitted disease.

Scientific reports, 6, 22870

Global environmental suitability mapping for Zika virus.

American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 77.2, e12615.

Zika virus infection complicated due to Guillain Barre syndrome-case report from French Polynesia. December 2013.

Zika virus intrauterine infections cause fetal brain abnormality, microcephaly and Szejnfeld, P. O.

Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology 47(1): 6-7.

2016 Interim Guidelines for Prevention of Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus–United States

Zika infection reduces Aedes’ aegypti locomotor activity, but it does not affect egg production or viability.

International Journal of Infectious diseases, 44, 11-15.

Review of evidence supporting causality between Zika virus infection and birth defects.

New England Journal of Medicine 374(20), 1981-1987

Zika, the new arbovirus threat to Latin America.

The Journal of Infection in Developing Country, 9(06), 684-85.

Regular blood feeding allows insecticide-treated nets with a reduced transmission rate to be used.

A candidate World Health Organization Zika virus reference strain for nucleic acids testing.

Genome announcements, 4(5): e00917-16

New Vector Control Methods: What’s the Future for Zika Virus Transmission Prevention?

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