It’s not just about the Zika virus

Two other viruses which are very similar to Zika virus – the chikungunya and the dengue viruses –  are also known to cause neurological complications and may have contributed to the recent increase in neurological diseases that I'm studying here in Brazil. Although the international collaboration I’m working with is called “ZikaPLAN”, our group recognises the importance of these other two viruses and we’re actually studying chikungunya and dengue with just as much interest as Zika.

What is Zika?

Previously virtually unheard of, even by most virologists, Zika virus hit the headlines in 2015-16 when a huge outbreak in Latin America was associated with children being born with brain abnormalities. Though most of you will now have heard of Zika, this article will cover some of the basics and be a good starting point for understanding how my project in Brazil fits in.