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Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Zika history

Zika: History of an Emerging Virus

Marc Gozlan, MD
Disclosures | February 25, 2016

The Zika Forest, 1947

In Lugandan (the major language of Uganda), the word "Zika" means "overgrown." The Zika Forest is a narrow, dense belt of high but broken canopy growth with clumps of large trees, situated along the edge of Lake Victoria near Entebbe, about 15.5 mi east of the Uganda capital, Kampala[1] (Figures 1 and 2).
Figure 1. The Zika Forest, near Entebbe, Uganda. Image courtesy of AP Photo/Stephen Wandera

For 10 years, a team from the East African Virus Research Institute in the Bwanba County in western Uganda, led by Alexander J. Haddow, had been doing studies on yellow fever epidemiology in the Zika Forest.[2] Five years earlier, Dr A.F. Mahhafy isolated the yellow fever virus from a sick African patient and from Aedes simpsoni, a sylvan mosquito found in banana plantations.[3] Repeated isolation of the yellow fever virus showed that this virus circulated in an enzootic state in forest monkeys, its primary sylvan host population.[2] Mahhafy and colleagues set out to study the nonhuman cycle of sylvan yellow fever, hoping to discover the vector for the transmission of the yellow fever virus to the monkeys of western Uganda./.../

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