Zika virus entered Brazil during 2013 Confederations Cup: Study
Rio De Janeiro:Researchers have reasons to believe that the Zika virus could have entered Brazil in 2013 during the Confederations Cup which featured the national team from Tahiti, which had suffered a Zika outbreak that year, a new study claims.
The study examined genetic profiles of seven Brazilian Zika cases and according to scientists said the study presents valuable findings as Brazil grapples with twin outbreaks of Zika and the birth defect 'microcephaly'. The government has confirmed a link between the two. "It's very early and limited but valuable information," said Daniel Lucy, an infectious-disease specialist at Georgetown University.
"We managed to trace the date of introduction between May and September 2013," said Nuno Faria, a researcher at Oxford University and one of the authors of the paper, published Thursday in the journal Science.
The research by scientists from Britain's Oxford University and Brazil's Evandro Chagas Institute is the first to have analyzed the Zika genome found in Brazil. Since reaching here, it has spread to another 33 countries across the Americas.
Researchers have found that Brazil's Zika virus is closely related to the Asian strain of Zika that was behind an outbreak in French Polynesia in 2013. The strain also circulates across Southeast Asia. Zika was first found in Uguanda in 1947, and there is also an African strain."They did a genetic profile of the Brazilian virus," said Marcos Lago, an infectious disease specialist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. "This is important."
Approximately 1.5 million Brazilians may have caught Zika and nearly a thousand cases of the birth defect 'microcephaly' has been reported.
The Oslo Times