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.

Zika congenital syndrome: are we under-estimating the full extent of the problem?

This is the second of a three-part series on Zika's effects during pregnancy.    In the first part, I introduced ‘congenital Zika syndrome’ and described how Zika is responsible for a lot more than just microcephaly.   In this post I will explain why we may be under-estimating the full extent of the problem. Zika infection … Continue reading Zika congenital syndrome: are we under-estimating the full extent of the problem?

Zika and its effects on babies: microcephaly and ‘congenital Zika syndrome’

The initial conern over Zika arose when it was suspected to cause a birth defect called 'microcephaly' (small brain). It has since been shown that Zika causes a far wider range of problems in the newborn than just microcephaly. In this article I discuss the range of defects caused by the Zika virus and put them in the context of the other causes of birth defects that we know about.

A typical workday in Recife: my Brazilian “dia a dia”

As you already know, I'm here in Brazil working on a project to do with neurological complications of the Zika virus. Here's an idea of what my day-to-day routine is like, or my "dia-a-dia" as they say in Brazil. 6:00 – Wake up to go for a run while the outside temperature is still bearable. Without doubt, this … Continue reading A typical workday in Recife: my Brazilian “dia a dia”

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.