Zika cases are down, but researchers prepare for the virus’s return | Science News

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Year in Review

Zika cases are down, but researchers prepare for the virus’s return

Plenty of questions remain about transmission and vaccine development

By
8:26am, December 13, 2017
1-month-old baby with microcephaly

ZIKA'S IMPRINT  Zika’s spread through the Americas, with the associated birth defects and other maladies, was one of the top stories last year. It remained an important science story in 2017.

One of the top stories of 2016 quietly exited much of the public’s consciousness in 2017. But it’s still a hot topic among scientists and for good reasons. After Zika emerged in the Western Hemisphere, it shook the Americas, as reports of infections and devastating birth defects swept through Brazil and Colombia, eventually reaching the United States. In a welcome turn, the number of Zika cases in the hemisphere this year dropped dramatically in the hardest-hit areas.

But few scientists are naïve enough to think we’ve seen the last of Zika. “The clock is ticking for when we will see another outbreak,” says Andrew Haddow, a medical entomologist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Md.

Researchers’ to-do

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