The rise of the Zika virus began decades ago in a jungle in Uganda.
The Zika virus outbreak has reached epidemic proportions, and threatens to impact the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro — and the truth of how it spread may surprise you.
Although Zika seems like a recent phenomenon, it was actually discovered in 1947 in Uganda by scientists who were seeking to identify yellow fever in a rhesus monkey. A year later, the virus was recovered in a mosquito in Zika Forest, where it got its name.
The first human cases were detected in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania, and the virus later spread to Nigeria.
From the 1960s to the 1980s, Zika was detected in both mosquitoes and monkeys across the equitorial region of Africa, and it eventually spread to India and other Asian countries.
Zika broke out of Africa and Asia in 2007, reaching the Pacific island of Yap. In 2013, Zika outbreaks struck a number of Pacific islands. And in March 2015, the first Zika outbreak was reported in Brazil. Just a few months later, Brazil would declare a public health emergency.