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Zika virus (ZIKV) infections occurred in epidemic form in the Americas in 2014–2016, with some of the earliest isolates in the region coming from Haiti. We isolated ZIKV from 20 children with acute undifferentiated febrile illness who were part of a cohort of children seen at a school clinic in the Gressier region of Haiti. The virus was also isolated from three pools of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes collected at the same location. On phylogenetic analysis, three distinct ZIKV clades were identified. Strains from all three clades were present in Haiti in 2014, making them among the earliest isolates identified in the Western Hemisphere. Strains from all three clades were also isolated in 2016, indicative of their persistence across the time period of the epidemic. Mosquito isolates were collected in 2016 and included representatives from two of the three clades; in one instance, ZIKV was isolated from a pool of male mosquitoes, suggestive of vertical transmission of the virus. The identification of multiple ZIKV clades in Haiti at the beginning of the epidemic suggests that Haiti served as a nidus for transmission within the Caribbean.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Financial support: This work was funded in part by a grant from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to J. G. M. (no. R01AI123657S).
Disclaimer: The opinions and assertions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences or the Department of Defense.
Authors’ addresses: Md. Mahbubul Alam, Sarah K. White, Caroline J. Stephenson, Gabriela M. Blohm, Julia C. Loeb, and John A. Lednicky, Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, and Department of Environmental and Global Health, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com. Carla Mavian and Marco Salemi, Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, and Department of Pathology, Immunology, and Laboratory Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Bernard A. Okech, Department of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics at the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Maha A. Elbadry, Proctor and Gamble, Cincinnati, OH, E-mail: email@example.com. Rigan Louis, Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, and State University of Haiti Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cyrus Saleem, Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, E-mail: email@example.com. Valery E. Madsen Beau de Rochars, Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, and Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. J. Glenn Morris, Jr., Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, and Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, E-mail: email@example.com.