March 21, 2017

Genomic research has shown the Zika virus outbreak in Florida last year came not from a single “patient zero,” but from multiple infected travelers.

A team from the Scripps Transnational Science Institute identified four different introductions of the virus in South Florida, testing samples from 17 people. Looking at the total number of infected people in the region, the researchers calculated that there may have been as many as 30 introductions of the virus.

Kristian Andersen from the institute, reporting at the 10th Future of Genomic Medicine Conference in La Jolla, California, noted that sequencing the genome of the virus from mosquitoes and patients also showed that travelers to the Caribbean were the primary means of introduction. The study was summarized at Medscape News.