In November 2018, Thomas Jaenisch travelled to Peru and Ecuador in order to start investigate the health impact and potential future outbreaks of Zika virus (ZIKV) in both countries.
The Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander Von Humboldt, based in Peru, has recently joined the ZIKAlliance consortium. Peru has experienced cases of ZIKV throughout 2017, including outbreaks in several locations on the Pacific coast. The peculiar location of the country makes it a possible candidate for ongoing transmission in 2018; in fact, the 2018/2019 season will likely see El Niño-related storms beating the country, with more frequent and intense rainfalls expected. In Peru, the team led by the principal investigator Eduardo Gotuzzo agreed to carry out seroprevalence surveys to determine the current extent of ZIKV circulation before to proceed with the establishment of a pregnant women cohort. A special case that the team will investigate more in detail has been identified in the city of Chincha, which experienced a ZIKV outbreak in 2017. According to the local partners, Chincha was not endemic for dengue or chikungunya before than that, and it might thus present a unique epidemiological case story of ZIKV.
In Ecuador, Thomas Jaenisch discussed the progress on the pregnant women and children cohorts with the team of Carmen Soria, in particular with Lady Dimitrakis and Mary Regato. Participants recruitment and related follow-up are going well, with 323 participants already enrolled. In collaboration with the National Reference Laboratory in Guayaquil, the researchers have identified several positive ZIKV cases in pregnant women.
The ZIKAlliance project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreements No 734548