Similar to dengue and chikungunya viruses, Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease found around the world. Spread by Aedes
mosquitoes, it is frequently found in urban environments and is likely to spread as humans expand into more areas. Distinguishing it from other flaviviruses, Zika has a relatively high rate of asymptomatic infection, can be spread through blood or sexual contact and can be found in bodily fluids for weeks to months after initial infection. Currently there is no treatment for Zika and disease management is primarily focused on symptoms with particular care required for pregnant patients due to the risk of transmission to the baby and ensuing severe morbidities. As such, AFRIMS conducts critical surveillance and countermeasure development work to detect and combat Zika to maintain force health protection for both Service Members and their families when they return home from deployment to an endemic region.
Given the above issues, AFRIMS has been actively engaged in combatting Zika virus on several fronts. Working with industry partners, we are validating and developing diagnostic testing (including rapid tests) to improve recognition of disease in austere environments.
The primary departments at AFRIMS involved with this research are Entomology
, Veterinary Medicine
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