Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen that recently caused a major epidemic in the Americas. Although the majority of ZIKV infections are asymptomatic, the virus has been associated with birth defects in fetuses and newborns of infected mothers as well as neurological complications in adults. We performed a descriptive analysis on approximately 106,000 suspected and laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus disease (ZVD) that were reported during the 2015-2017 epidemic in Colombia. We also analyzed a dataset containing patients with neurological complications and recent febrile illness compatible with ZVD. Females had higher cumulative incidence of ZVD than males. Compared to the general population, cases were more likely to be reported in young adults (20 to 39 years of age). We estimated the cumulative incidence of ZVD in pregnant females at 3,120 reported cases per 100,000 population (95% CI: 3,077-3,164), which was considerably higher than the incidence in both males and non-pregnant females. ZVD cases were reported in all 32 departments. Four-hundred and eighteen patients suffered from ZIKV-associated neurological complications, of which 85% were diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. The median age of ZIKV cases with neurological complications was 12 years older than that of ZVD cases. ZIKV-associated neurological complications increased with age, and the highest incidence was reported among individuals aged 75 and older. Even though neurological complications and deaths due to ZIKV were rare in this epidemic, better risk communication is needed for people living in or traveling to ZIKV-affected areas.

Original publication




Journal article


PloS one

Publication Date





Medical Research Council Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.


Fetus, Humans, Pregnancy Complications, Infectious, Nervous System Diseases, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Incidence, Disease Outbreaks, Pregnancy, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, Child, Child, Preschool, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Americas, Colombia, Female, Male, Young Adult, Zika Virus, Zika Virus Infection