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Zika virus

Zika virus (ZIKV) was first isolated from a monkey in 1947 originating from the Zika forest in Uganda. It was subsequently identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Genetic studies have shown that there are three distinct genotypes of ZIKV; East African, West African and Asian. The virus has been known to circulate in Africa and Asia for decades, but only a small number of outbreaks were documented.

In 2015, a large outbreak of ZIKV infection began in the Caribbean and Central and South America; travellers returning from these areas contributed to the spread of the infection outside of the Americas.

There are currently three strains of ZIKV within the NCPV collection:

MP1751 (1308258v) – the first strain added to the collection is a historical strain. Depositor records indicate that this strain is likely to have been isolated from Aedes africanus mosquitoes captured in Ziika Forest, Uganda, in 19621

PRVABC59 (1604131v) – this is a recent strain and was isolated by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from serum of a patient who had travelled to Puerto Rico in South America in 2015, at the start of the outbreak2

PHE_semen_Guadeloupe (1609021v) – the most recently acquired strain in the collection was isolated by the Public Health England Virology and Pathogenesis group in 2016. This strain was isolated from the semen of a patient who returned to the UK from Guadeloupe3



  1. Haddow, A. , Williams, M. , Woodall, J. , Simpson, D. , & Goma, L. (1964). Twelve Isolations of Zika Virus from Aedes (Stegomyia) Africanus (Theobald) Taken In and Above a Uganda Forest. Bull World Health Organ, 31, 57-69.

  2. Lanciotti, R., Lambert, A., Holodniy, M., Saavedra, S., & Del Carmen Castillo Signor, L. (2016). Phylogeny of Zika virus in Western Hemisphere, 2015. 22(5), 933.

  3. Atkinson, B., Graham, V., Miles, R., Lewandowski, K., Dowall, S., Pullan, S., & Hewson, R. (2016). Complete Genome Sequence of Zika Virus Isolated from Semen. Genome Announcement, 4(5), E01116-16-16.atom