Zika virus is a new and emerging pathogen that is impacting many people across the Americas. With the increased drive for an effective treatment, Zika virus research will be increasing in many laboratories. The biosafety risk assessment will be important to guide safe work practices when tackling this new agent. Zika virus is listed in the BMBL as a risk group 2. Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and usually causes a mild febrile illness. Unfortunately, Zika virus has also been shown to cause birth defects and prenatal deaths. The risk is not only to pregnant women, because Zika virus has been shown to be sexually transmissible from men to women. It is important that all information about risks is communicated to the workforce and biosafety committees so that informed choices are made. While scientists rush to help stop the spread of this virus and find new treatment strategies, safety remains an important consideration.
For more information visit CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html
- mosq: sziegler