Zika: Transmission and Epidemiology


The mosquito Aedes aegypti is the principal vector of dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika viruses with Ae. albopictus thought to be a minor vector for the same viruses, except for yellow fever where its role has not been proven. More information about these two vectors such as their distribution, life cycle, surveillance and control can be found on the CDC website. VectorBase contains the following information relating to these species:


The genomes of Ae. aegypti (Nene et al. 2007) and Ae. albopictus (Chen et al.2015) are available with our query and analysis tools. The genome assemblies, including the mitochondrial genomes, and predicted gene sets are available from the Downloads section, which also includes annotation in GFF3 format for both species.

Other data types

Further data relating to the species includes:

Association with microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome

Zika fever has been associated with a rise in cases of microcephaly, a neurological condition in which the infant’s head is significantly smaller, as a result of abnormal brain development and Guillain-Barré syndrome, where the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system leading, in some cases, to paralysis. A causal link between the virus and these conditions has been recently suggested. Here are links to the relevant WHO factsheets. There is not a wave of birth defects in association with Zika outside Brazil. Colombia, the first country in the Americas that has called to an end the Zika epidemic (The New York Times - July 25, 2016), has released preliminary data about microcephaly. A commentary about the paper can be found in Science and the data has been published in this paper, Pacheco et al. 2016 [Epub ahead of print] .