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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 27 January 2017 > UNRAVELING ZIKA


Researchers pat down Zika to find the weapons it’s packing


ZIKA’S TOLL: A mother in Brazil holds her 8-monthold twins, both born with microcephaly

THE OUTBREAK of Zika virus in Brazil in 2015, which brought the pathogen to widespread attention, came as a shock. The virus, discovered among caged monkeys in the Zika Forest of Uganda in 1947, had been presumed to be harmless to humans. Three human cases were reported in 1953 in Nigeria, but no other incidents followed for more than 50 years. A 1971 study showed the virus could kill newborn mice, but that still didn’t raise concerns. “The entire world ignored this virus,” says virologist Richard Zhao of the University of Maryland. A 2007 outbreak in Yap, an island in the Federated States of Micronesia, was followed by others in French Polynesia in 2013 and 2014, followed by Brazil.

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