Health Security   |  April 15, 2016

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In March 2016, research groups in Brazil and the United States reported that Zika virus (ZIKV) of African lineage (Uganda strain “MR 766”) can infect and kill human cortical neural progenitor cells and block their normal growth and development. Small numbers of ZIKV infections have been documented in Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and elsewhere in Africa since the 1950s. ZIKV has not been reported to be associated with microcephaly following these small outbreaks, although widespread surveillance has not been done. Nevertheless, given the much larger epidemics of ZIKV and microcephaly in Brazil in 2015 and 2016, these 2 in vitro studies are concerning enough to warrant prospective studies monitoring for microcephaly following ZIKV outbreaks in Africa.

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