Zika Virus

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Mosquito-Borne Viral Diseases. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Zika Virus

The Zika virus is a single-stranded RNA virus in the Flaviviridae family. A near-atomic level visualization of Zika finds it to be most similar to the dengue virus. There is a difference in one surface protein (glycoprotein-180) that helps flaviviruses attach to human cells. This may explain how the Zika virus attacks nerve cells. This glycoprotein could further explain the association with Guillain-Barre syndrome and birth defects, such as microcephaly.

Zika virus TEM. Image courtesy CDC.