Zika Strain Into Monkeys Might Trigger Future Outbreak In Humans

By Jose Paolo Calcetas , Feb 09, 2017 10:43 AM EST

Scientists warn that a new health threat might intensify the spread of Zika virus in the future. This involves the ‘spillback’ of the dreaded virus from humans back into monkeys. In particular, monkeys from South America are at risk in this irregular pattern which deviates from the experts’ usual concern of animals transmitting their diseases to humans.

Disease Ecologist Dr. Barbara Han from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, tackled the matter with other field experts on February 6 during the meeting of the American Society for Microbiology Biothreats. She said that the virus is more likely to transmit to monkeys in territories were Zika infections rampantly spread among humans. If the wild primates get infected with Zika, Han warned that they may be ‘reservoirs’ that can trigger human outbreak in the future. She raised qualms that this situation might make it almost impossible to eradicate the dreaded illness, Science News reports.

Han warned that the feared ‘spillback’ has already started. Moreover, she also said that there are two species of primates who are mostly at risk in the feared ‘spillback.’ These are the black-striped capuchin monkeys which are usually kept as pets, and the common marmosets. These two monkey species have been proven to by researchers to be infected with Zika virus similar to the human strain in Brazil. Recently, a report claimed that Zika vaccines are running out of funds.

Last year, NCBI published a study which said that Zika virus has been discovered in Brazil. It eventually caused an upheaval in the emerging viruses carried and transmitted by the mosquito Aedes aegypti. It also emphasized how Dengue virus entered Florida in 2009, Arizona in 2014, and Hawaii in 2015. Furthermore, cases of patients affected with chikungunya virus was first reported in the Caribbean in 2013.

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