Cell 178, 1057–1071 (2019)

Outbreaks of Zika virus that go otherwise undetected can be identified using a combination of clinical sequencing and travel surveillance.

The detection of Zika virus epidemics is confounded by the high rate of subclincal infection and the overlap between the symptoms of Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses. The resultant under-reporting of infection and epidemics could hinder the worldwide effort to combat the disease.

An international group of scientists employed a combined approach of analyzing travel-associated Zika cases and performing clinical sequencing to identify a previously unreported Zika virus outbreak that occurred in Cuba in 2017. Their strategy suggests a complementary framework for outbreak monitoring.