Vector-borne transmission and evolution of Zika virus

Gladys Gutiérrez-Bugallo, Luis Augusto Piedra, Magdalena Rodriguez, Juan A. Bisset, Ricardo Lourenço-de-Oliveira, Scott C. Weaver, Nikos Vasilakis, Anubis Vega-Rúa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Zika virus (ZIKV), discovered in the Zika Forest of Uganda in 1947, is a mosquito-borne flavivirus related to yellow fever, dengue and West Nile viruses. From its discovery until 2007, only sporadic ZIKV cases were reported, with mild clinical manifestations in patients. Therefore, little attention was given to this virus before epidemics in the South Pacific and the Americas that began in 2013. Despite a growing number of ZIKV studies in the past three years, many aspects of the virus remain poorly characterized, particularly the spectrum of species involved in its transmission cycles. Here, we review the mosquito and vertebrate host species potentially involved in ZIKV vector-borne transmission worldwide. We also provide an evidence-supported analysis regarding the possibility of ZIKV spillback from an urban cycle to a zoonotic cycle outside Africa, and we review hypotheses regarding recent emergence and evolution of ZIKV. Finally, we identify critical remaining gaps in the current knowledge of ZIKV vector-borne transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-569
Number of pages9
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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