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Study finds route of Zika virus to Brazil

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  • Study finds route of Zika virus to Brazil

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    Study finds route of zika virus to Brazil

    By: Solange Argenta (Fiocruz Pernambuco)

    A study developed at Fiocruz Pernambuco traced the route of the arrival of the zika virus to Brazil, filling a gap in the literature on the subject. Among the most frequent assumptions, it was believed that the virus would have entered the country during the 2014 World Cup (12-13 July) brought by African travelers. Another theory said that the introduction would have occurred during the world canoeing championship, held in August 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, which received competitors from several Pacific countries affected by the zika virus.

    However, according to the study Revisiting Key Entry Routes of Human Epidemic Arboviruses into the Mainland Americas through Large-Scale Phylogenomics(Revisiting the main routes of entry of epidemic arboviruses in humans in the American continent through large-scale phylogenomics) the zika virus, originating in French Polynesia, did not come from there directly to Brazil. Before that he migrated to Oceania, then to Easter Island - from where he went to Central America and the Caribbean - and only then arrived in Brazil at the end of 2013. "This coincides with the path taken by the dengue and chikungunya viruses "Explains one of the researchers, researcher Lindomar Pena. This result points to the fact that Central America and the Caribbean are important routes of entry for arboviruses in South America. Strategic information for epidemiological surveillance and for adopting measures to control and monitor these diseases, especially in border regions with other countries,

    In all the Brazilian cases studied, the common ancestor of the virus is a strain of Haiti, a country known to be affected by the triple epidemic of zika, dengue and chikungunya. Illegal immigrants from Haiti and Brazilian military personnel on a peace mission in that country may have brought the zika virus to Brazil. In agreement with these results, previous studies had confirmed cases of chikungunya in Brazil imported from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, highlighting Central America and the Caribbean as important routes for the introduction of this arbovirus in Brazil.

    Another conclusion of the study is that there were multiple, independent entries of the zika virus in Brazil. This changes the previous belief that a single patient could have brought the disease, which later would have spread throughout the country.

    The study was attended by the researchers from Fiocruz Pernambuco Lindomar Pena, Túlio Campos, Gabriel Wallau and Antonio Rezende and a collaborator from the University of Glasgow, Alain Kohl. The analyzes were based on a total of 4,035 complete genome samples from the three viruses available in public databases and state-of-the-art computational algorithms and tools were used. The research was funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology Support of the State of Pernambuco (Facepe) and also involved the dengue and chikungunya viruses. The results were published in the International Journal of Genomics .

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