Over 35,000 Zika Cases Confirmed in the Americas
Despite a global reduction in Zika cases since a peak in 2017, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) recently confirmed the circulation of this mosquito-borne virus in 89 countries worldwide.
However, Zika outbreaks escalated in certain countries in the Region of the Americas in 2023.
The PAHO's data dashboard indicates there have been 35,538 confirmed Zika cases this year.
Ten countries, led by Brazil, have accounted for about 89% of Zika cases recorded over the past decade.
This year, Brazil has reported over 33,000 Zika cases.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says mosquitoes continue to spread Zika throughout Puerto Rico.
About 25% of infected people develop Zika symptoms, and the illness is usually mild, lasting between two and seven days.
Moreover, Congenital Zika-associated syndrome is a set of anomalies, such as microcephaly, seen in infants born to mothers with a history of gestational Zika fever, says the CDC.
The PAHO and other health agencies have stated that vaccination is the best option to prevent further infections.
But, as 2024 approaches, no Zika vaccine has been approved by any health authority.
Clinical trials involving DNA, modified vaccinia Ankara vector platform, and purified inactivated virus vaccine candidates have shown they can induce neutralizing antibodies.
Since 2016, about $350 million of funding has been allocated for Zika vaccine candidates.