J Clin Pharm Ther. 2020 Nov 20. doi: 10.1111/jcpt.13310. Online ahead of print.
WHAT IS KNOWN AND OBJECTIVE: The sudden and extensive outbreak of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has overshadowed another developing viral threat: the Zika flavivirus. Of particular concern is that pregnant women can pass Zika virus to the foetus, and there is a strong implication of an association between Zika virus infection and foetal microcephaly. Currently, there is no vaccine, and there is no cure.
METHODS: Published literature and Internet sources were searched for information related to Zika virus, its transmission, its clinical presentation and sequalae, prevention and implications (practice and regulatory) for healthcare providers. The identified English sources were reviewed, assessed and synthesized. Emphasis was placed on providing an overview of the problem, and identification of unmet needs and future directions.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Zika virus poses a major challenge for healthcare providers, particularly in areas unaccustomed to it, since it is transmitted to humans by the vector Aedes aegypti mosquito. The outbreak impacts every healthcare provider, because every provider is required to report cases of Zika infection to their state or local health agencies–whether the infection is confirmed or merely suspected. Since the virus has become a worldwide crisis, healthcare providers will need to work across national boundaries and medical disciplines in order to educate patients about Zika symptoms and the mosquito vector. Until further information is known, infected patients (male and female) are being advised to avoid conceiving a child.
WHAT IS NEW AND CONCLUSION: Until a vaccine is developed or effective treatment for Zika virus is discovered, healthcare providers must be AVP (aware, vigilant and proactive) in order to lessen the spread and impact of the implicated devastating birth defects (microcephaly) and other neurological disorders (eg Guillain-Barré Syndrome) of this infection. Unfortunately, many knowledge gaps exist. There is an urgent need for a reliable, inexpensive diagnostic test, an effective treatment and an approved and readily available vaccine.