Zika Virus as an Emerging Global Pathogen: Neurological Complications of Zika Virus

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Abstract

Importance

Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) in the genus Flavivirus that has caused a widespread outbreak of febrile illness, is associated with neurological disease, and has spread across the Pacific to the Americas in a short period.

Observations

In this review, we discuss what is currently known about ZIKV, neuroimmunologic complications, and the impact on global human health. Zika virus spread across Africa and Asia in part owing to unique genomic evolutionary conditions and pressures resulting in specific human disease manifestations, complications, and pathogenesis. Recent data suggest that acute ZIKV infection in pregnant women may result in acute infection of fetal tissue and brain tissue, causing microcephaly and potentially severe debilitation of the infant or even death of the fetus. Cases of acute ZIKV are also associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome. With the increased number of cases, new complications such as ocular involvement and sexual transmission have been reported.

Conclusions and Relevance

Zika virus is an emerging viral pathogen with significant consequences on human health throughout the world. Ongoing research into this pathogen is urgently needed to produce viable vaccine and therapeutic options.

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