Tag Archives: Harvard University

The Zika Crisis: Latest Findings | The Forum at HSPH

Marcia Castro
Associate Professor of Demography,
Harvard T.H. Chan School
As of 4th March 2016
– 5900 suspected cases
– 640 confirmed for microcephaly
– Only 80 had zika virus
Note:  Zika (or dengue) found in 80 out of 640 (12.5%) cases of confirmed microcephaly. 87.5% of microcephaly cases tested negative for zika (or dengue) virus. Dengue virus may be creating false positives for zika. Zika and dengue are very similar.

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Genomic surveillance elucidates Ebola virus origin and transmission during the 2014 outbreak

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6202/1369.full#F1
ABSTRACT
In its largest outbreak, Ebola virus disease is spreading through Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. We sequenced 99 Ebola virus genomes from 78 patients in Sierra Leone to ~2000× coverage. We observed a rapid accumulation of interhost and intrahost genetic variation, allowing us to characterize patterns of viral transmission over the initial weeks of the epidemic. This West African variant likely diverged from central African lineages around 2004, crossed from Guinea to Sierra Leone in May 2014, and has exhibited sustained human-to-human transmission subsequently, with no evidence of additional zoonotic sources. Because many of the mutations alter protein sequences and other biologically meaningful targets, they should be monitored for impact on diagnostics, vaccines, and therapies critical to outbreak response.

Note:
– diverged from central African lineages around 2004. NO outbreaks in Zaire or between Zaire and West Africa to account for 2014 outbreak in West Africa??
– no evidence of additional zoonotic sources. No fruit bats or green monkeys then
– 7 of the researchers have since died (Mostly Ebola, 1 of stroke)
Continue reading Genomic surveillance elucidates Ebola virus origin and transmission during the 2014 outbreak