News - February 5, 2016

To Surinam for zika virus

Albert Sikkema

This Monday a Dutch mission will leave to Surinam to evaluated the spread of the zika virus in that country. The Wageningen entomologist Sander Koenraadt is part of this mission, together with virologists of the Erasmus University.

The Dutch team is going to consult with the Bureau for Public Healthcare in Paramaribo, to map the spread of the zika virus. Together with their Surinam colleagues they also want to perform research on the characteristics of the virus and the effects of the virus on the human nervous system.

Koenraadt particularly looks at the possibilities of biological pesticides of the mosquitoes that transfer the virus. He is a mosquito researcher and one of the founders of, which invited the public to send mosquitoes to Wageningen. Last year Koenraadt already warned that sooner or later a new virus in insects would emerge in the Netherlands. He studies how new virus diseases that are transferred by mosquitos, such as dengue, and already had contacts with his Surinam colleagues.

Meanwhile the Pasteur-institute in French Guiana, partly at the request of Surinam, have mapped the genome of the zikavirus. In November last year the institute also found the first five infected with the zika virus in Surinam.