Feature Article

Zika virus infection: current evidence and implications for practice

Zoe Jennings, Jen Kok, Vitali Sintchenko



The WHO has declared Zika virus infection a public health emergency of international concern due to the recent outbreak in the Americas and the coinciding increased rates of microcephaly and neurological complications. The 54 cases so far identified in Australia were all acquired overseas but Aedes aegypti, the mosquito vector responsible for most cases, is occasionally found in Far North and Central Queensland.

Key Points

  • The Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak is now confirmed in 64 countries.
  • ZIKV is transmitted by infected Aedes mosquitoes and semen.
  • Most ZIKV infections are mild or asymptomatic.
  • A causal link with microcephaly and fetal abnormalities has now been established for ZIKV infection.
  • Serology and molecular testing methods are available for diagnosis of ZIKV infection.
  • There are no specific antiviral therapies currently available for ZIKV infection, nor a vaccine.

    Picture credit: © Fernando Da Cunha/