Volume 97, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



More than 700,000 cases of Zika virus (ZIKAV) disease have been officially reported to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) from 48 countries and territories of the Americas. The response led by the PAHO and partners suggests major lessons of this outbreak. A seemingly innocuous pathogen became the new villain, causing fear, economic losses and, most importantly, debilitating birth defects and neurological problems, reaffirming the well-known war principle of never to underestimate one's opponent. The ZIKAV tested public health capacities under the International Health Regulations, highlighting the need for continued investment in health security. Last but not least, the lack of appropriate tools was another reminder of the pressing need for innovative solutions to persistent problems. Latin America and the Caribbean have approximately 500 million persons living in areas at risk for transmission of ZIKAV. The fight against ZIKAV is not a 100-m race, but rather a marathon in which science and public health need to work hand in hand for the benefit of our peoples.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Zanluca C, Melo VC, Mosimann AL, Santos GI, Santos CN, Luz K, , 2015. First report of autochthonous transmission of Zika virus in Brazil. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 110: 569572.[Crossref]
  2. Pan American Health Organization, , 2016. Epidemiological Update: Neurological Syndrome, Congenital Anomalies and Zika Virus Infection, 17 January 2016. Available at: http://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&Itemid=270&gid=32879&lan=en. Accessed February 15, 2017.
  3. Schuler-Faccini L, Ribeiro EM, Feitosa IM, Horovitz D, Cavalcanti D, Pessoa A, Doriqui MJ, Neri JI, de Pina Neto JM, Wanderley H, Cernach M, El-Husny AS, Pone M, Serao C, Sanseverino MT, ; Brazilian Medical Genetics Society–Zika Embryopathy Task Force, 2016. Possible association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly—Brazil, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 65: 5962.[Crossref]
  4. Pan American Health Organization, 2015. Epidemiological Alert: Zika Virus Infection. Available at: http://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&Itemid=270&gid=30075&lang=en. Accessed February 20, 2017.
  5. Pan American Health Organization, 2017. Epidemiological Update. Available at: http://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_topics&view=readall&cid=7880&Itemid=41484&lang=en. Accessed February 28, 2017.
  6. Pan American Health Orgnization, 2017. Zika Case Counts. Available at: http://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12390&Itemid=42090&lang=en. Accessed March 2, 2017.
  7. World Health Organization, 2016. An R&D Blueprint for Action to Prevent Epidemics. Available at: http://www.who.int/csr/research-and-development/r_d_blueprint_plan_of_action.pdf?ua=1. Accessed February 20, 2017.
  8. Woolhouse M, Brierley L, McCaffery C, Lycett S, , 2016. Assessing the epidemic potential of RNA and DNA viruses. Emerg Infect Dis 22: 12.[Crossref]
  9. World Health Organization, 2008. International Health Regulations, 2005 , 3rd edition. Available at: http://www.who.int/ihr/publications/9789241580496/en/. Accessed February 26, 2017.
  10. Espinal M, Aldighieri S, St John R, Becerra-Posada F, Etienne C, , 2016. International health regulations, Ebola, and emerging infectious diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean. Am J Public Health 106: 279282.[Crossref]
  11. Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, 2017. CEPI: New Vaccines for a Safer World . Available at: http://cepi.net. Accessed February 27, 2017.
  12. World Bank Group, 2016. The Short-Term Economic Costs of Zika in Latin America and the Caribbean . Available at: http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/410321455758564708/The-short-term-economic-costs-of-Zika-in-LCR-final-doc-autores-feb-18.pdf. Accessed January 20, 2017.

Data & Media loading...

  • Received : 15 Mar 2017
  • Accepted : 15 Mar 2017

Most Cited This Month

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error