What is Zika virus?

Updated: Dec 11, 2018
  • Author: Bhagyashri D Navalkele, MD, MBBS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Zika virus (ZIKV) belongs to the Flavivirus genus; like other flaviviruses, Zika virus is an icosahedral, enveloped, single-stranded RNA virus. [1] The lipid envelope is covered with dense projections that consist of a membrane and envelope glycoproteins. [1]

In most cases, Zika virus infection causes a mild, self-limited illness. The incubation period is likely 3-12 days. [2] Owing to the mild nature of the disease, more than 80% of Zika virus infection cases likely go unnoticed. [2] The spectrum of Zika virus disease overlaps with other that of arboviral infections, but rash (maculopapular and likely immune-mediated) typically predominates. [2]


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