Oxford, 2 February 2016 --- The WHO announced yesterday that the cluster of neurological disorders and neonatal malformations reported in the Americas constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The decision was taken following advice from the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005). The increase in cases of confirmed microcephaly and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) have been temporarily associated with Zika virus (ZIKV) transmission in the affected countries.
ISARIC’s Coordinating Centre and ISARIC members and partners have been working to map and address the gaps in ZIKV research, and the potential link to microcephaly and other neurological disorders. We continue to host teleconference calls between research groups, clinicians, and public health with the aim to coordinate research efforts and map research needs. A working group that has grown out of these calls has adapted Case Report Forms (CRFs) for standardised data capture. The CRFs, which are being translated into Portuguese, Spanish, and French, are made freely available on a website hosted on the Global Health Network that is specifically dedicated to ZIKV research and information. The work of adapting the CRFs to ZIKV was done in collaboration with PREPARE Europe, led by Louise Sigfrid and Julia Bieliki.
We would encourage any research groups that are willing to link up with our ZIKV effort to contact ISARIC’s Clinical Coordinator, Dr. Gail Carson directly. We are also adding a page to the www.zikainfection.org website that will list currently ongoing or planned research activities, and we would encourage all research groups to send us short descriptions of their projects that can go on the website. All contributions to the website should be sent to ISARIC’s Operational Support Officer, Ms Chelsea McMullen, by email.