Inside Uganda’s Forest Where Zika Virus Originates

Written by Staff

From BBC

The Zika virus, which has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains in Brazil, was discovered in a forest in the East African state of Uganda seven decades ago. BBC Africa’s Catherine Byaruhanga visited the forest.

The Zika forest is not well known in Uganda, and most people will be hard-pushed to tell you where it is. The word itself means overgrown in the local Luganda language.

There is dense vegetation, a wide range of trees and lots of small animals. The only people you are likely to meet here are the forest-keeper and his family. They live in a small house made of corrugated iron sheets.

The virus was discovered in the forest – then a hub of scientific research in East Africa – in 1947 by accident by Ugandan, American and European scientists working on another viral disease, Yellow Fever.

While testing monkeys in the forest the scientists, whose research had been funded for a decade by the Rockefeller Foundation, came across a new microorganism, which they named Zika.

Read more at BBC