The Zika virus that is causing an outbreak in the archipelago of Cape Verde since 2015 belongs to the Asian strain and is originally from the Americas, which follows a major epidemic of Zika, advances a statement Friday the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal, sequenced the genome of the virus ravaging the Cape Verde archipelago and compared their DNA with other virus samples. The Zika, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, is originally from Africa and was first isolated in 1947. After a few decades had been discovered in Southeast Asia. And in recent years across the Pacific Ocean archipelagos to have reached South America, where the cause microcephaly in newborns of a percentage of pregnant women infected. According to WHO, the virus could reach Europe in the next, and this risk considered high for the island of Madeira.
The results of the Pasteur Institute showed that Cape Verde virus probably came from Brazil, where Zika may have arrived as early as 2013, although the first samples of the virus are only 2015. In Cape Verde, there are already 7557 suspected cases of Zika and three infants with microcephaly associated with the epidemic. “The finding raises concern because it is further evidence that the outbreak is spreading beyond South America and is at the gates of Africa,” says Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, said in a statement that institution. “This information will help African countries to reassess their risk level and to adapt and increase their levels of prevention.”
There are some genetic differences between the Asian virus, which is reaching tens of countries in South and Central America, and the original virus found in Africa in the 1940s but it is not known whether current African strains cause the same kind of symptoms and problems of the Asian strain, including microcephaly. The Zika is often asymptomatic. However, it can cause fever, headache and rash. It is also thought that is behind the increase in cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome – where peripheral nerves are attacked by the immune system, temporarily leaving people struggling to move.