Seroprevalence of Zika Virus in Wild African Green Monkeys and Baboons.

TitleSeroprevalence of Zika Virus in Wild African Green Monkeys and Baboons.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBuechler, CR, Bailey, AL, Weiler, AM, Barry, GL, Breitbach, ME, Stewart, LM, Jasinska, AJ, Freimer, NB, Apetrei, C, Phillips-Conroy, JE, Jolly, CJ, Rogers, J, Friedrich, TC, O'Connor, DH
Date Published2017 Mar-Apr

Zika virus (ZIKV) has recently spread through the Americas and has been associated with a range of health effects, including birth defects in children born to women infected during pregnancy. Although the natural reservoir of ZIKV remains poorly defined, the virus was first identified in a captive "sentinel" macaque monkey in Africa in 1947. However, the virus has not been reported in humans or nonhuman primates (NHPs) in Africa outside Gabon in over a decade. Here, we examine ZIKV infection in 239 wild baboons and African green monkeys from South Africa, the Gambia, Tanzania, and Zambia using combinations of unbiased deep sequencing, quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR), and an antibody capture assay that we optimized using serum collected from captive macaque monkeys exposed to ZIKV, dengue virus, and yellow fever virus. While we did not find evidence of active ZIKV infection in wild NHPs in Africa, we found variable ZIKV seropositivity of up to 16% in some of the NHP populations sampled. We anticipate that these results and the methodology described within will help in continued efforts to determine the prevalence, natural reservoir, and transmission dynamics of ZIKV in Africa and elsewhere. IMPORTANCE Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne virus originally discovered in a captive monkey living in the Zika Forest of Uganda, Africa, in 1947. Recently, an outbreak in South America has shown that ZIKV infection can cause myriad health effects, including birth defects in the children of women infected during pregnancy. Here, we sought to investigate ZIKV infection in wild African primates to better understand its emergence and spread, looking for evidence of active or prior infection. Our results suggest that up to 16% of some populations of nonhuman primate were, at some point, exposed to ZIKV. We anticipate that this study will be useful for future studies that examine the spread of infections from wild animals to humans in general and those studying ZIKV in primates in particular.

Alternate JournalmSphere
PubMed ID28289727
PubMed Central IDPMC5343173