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Zika Likely Spread Undetected In Latin America, Southern U.S. Before First Case Reports, Studies Show

The Atlantic: How Zika Conquered the Americas
“…With summer approaching and mosquito populations rising, the key to predicting and controlling Zika’s future lies in understanding its past. … By collecting viruses from different places and comparing their genomes, scientists can work backward to estimate when and where an outbreak would have actually begun. A huge international team of scientists has now done just that for Zika. … [T]hey’ve confirmed what many had believed: In almost every affected country, Zika was already there for months — or even years — before the first cases were reported…” (Yong, 5/24).

Financial Times: Scientists ‘way behind the curve’ on threat of Zika virus
“…Scientists from the U.K., U.S., and Brazil analyzed more than 200 viral genomes — Zika DNA collected from patients and the mosquitoes that spread infection. The data, published in Nature, enabled them to reconstruct the spread of the virus across South and Central America, the Caribbean, and the southern U.S. The project demonstrates the power of new genetic technology to track diseases…” (Cookson, 5/24).

NPR: Miami’s Zika Outbreak Began Months Before It Was First Detected
“Last year’s Zika outbreak in Miami likely started in the spring of 2016, with the virus introduced multiple times before it was detected, researchers say. And most of those cases originated in the Caribbean. … The study concludes that Miami’s Zika outbreak was caused mostly by infected travelers arriving from the Caribbean, the region with the highest incidence of the disease. … The Miami study is one of three featured this week in Nature using genomic analysis to trace the spread of the Zika virus through the Americas…” (Allen, 5/24).

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