Escola Paulista de Medicina
Postgraduate Program in Infectious Diseases

Potential exposure to Zika virus for foreign tourists during the 2016 Carnival and Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

capa epi 2015 v143 12

Autores: Burattini MN, Coutinho FA, Lopez LF, Ximenes R, Quam M, Wilder-Smith A, Massad E.

Publicação: Epidemiology and Infection, Volume 144, Issue 9 July 2016, pp. 1904-1906 • DOI: 10.1017/S0950268816000649 • data de publicação


he recent outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil has triggered a wave of anxiety that is felt throughout the world. The anxiety is fuelled by the mounting evidence that Zika virus is associated with an unprecedented upsurge of microcephaly and other congenital malformations, thereby putting pregnant women and their offspring at risk. Furthermore, statistical associations of Zika virus infections with Guillain–Barré syndrome underpin the additional serious threat of this new emerging Zika virus to everyone [1]. Therefore, it is very important for travellers to Zika virus-affected areas or countries to estimate the risk for acquiring a Zika virus infection. Such risk estimates have particular importance for tourists during the Carnival events in February 2016 or those planning to attend the Olympic Games in August 2016, with both events occurring in Rio de Janeiro. However, for risk estimations one would need to know the true burden of Zika virus disease and quantify the force of infection in Rio de Janeiro over the time periods of the Carnival and the Olympic Games. At this stage, however, such data are still preliminary, the reasons of which are many: Zika virus is a flavivirus, therefore serologically based diagnostic tests are highly cross-reactive with dengue viruses. Furthermore, the clinical picture of both diseases is sufficiently similar to make misdiagnosis frequent. Brazil has the highest dengue burden in the world, and hence Zika virus infections remain initially undetected in the overwhelming number of dengue infections [2]. However, Zika virus and dengue virus infections have one thing in common that may help to indirectly estimate the risk of Zika virus infections: both are transmitted by the same Aedes mosquitoes, and hence the potential exposure to Zika and dengue viruses can be calculated through mathematical modelling based on Aedes mosquito bites. In other words, the primary research question is the calculation of the risk of a tourist receiving a bite from an Aedes mosquito in Rio. Some preliminary estimation of the risk of acquiring Zika virus infection are presented.

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