J.Gathany / CDC

Zika virus: The next emerging threat?

Zika is the most recent virus to take the world by surprise. Although the mosquito-borne virus was discovered in 1947, no one paid much attention to it because it was both rare and thought to cause only mild symptoms, if any. But now, with the virus’s rapid spread and its potential link to microcephaly and other neurological damage, the World Health Organization has declared a global emergency. Scientists are racing to develop therapeutics as well as a vaccine, building off research on related flaviviruses such as dengue and yellow fever. These approaches will take time, however, and for now, targeting mosquitos is the best way to prevent infection.