Experimental Zika Virus Infection of Neotropical Primates

John A. Vanchiere Department of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, Texas;
Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana;

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Julio C. Ruiz Department of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, Texas;

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Alan G. Brady Department of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, Texas;

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Thomas J. Kuehl Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Baylor Scott and White Clinic, Temple, Texas;

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Lawrence E. Williams Department of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, Texas;

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Wallace B. Baze Department of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, Texas;

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Gregory K. Wilkerson Department of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, Texas;

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Pramod N. Nehete Department of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, Texas;

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Gloria B. McClure Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana;

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Donna L. Rogers Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana;

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Shannan L. Rossi Department of Pathology and Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas;

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Sasha R. Azar Department of Pathology and Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas;

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Christopher M. Roundy Department of Pathology and Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas;

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Scott C. Weaver Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute for Human Infections and Immunity, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas

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Nikos Vasilakis Department of Pathology and Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas;
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute for Human Infections and Immunity, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas

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Joe H. Simmons Department of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, Texas;

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Christian R. Abee Department of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, Texas;

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The establishment of a sylvatic reservoir of Zika virus (ZIKV) in the Americas is dependent on the susceptibility of primates of sufficient population density, the duration and magnitude of viremia, and their exposure to the human mosquito-borne transmission cycle. To assess the susceptibility of squirrel (Saimiri sp.) and owl monkeys (Aotus sp.) to infection, we inoculated four animals of each species with ZIKV from the current epidemic. Viremia in the absence of detectible disease was observed in both species and seroconversion occurred by day 28. ZIKV was detected in the spleen of three owl monkeys: one at 7 days postinoculation (dpi) and two at 14 dpi. This study confirms the susceptibility to ZIKV infection of two Neotropical primate species that live in close proximity to humans in South America, suggesting that they could support a widespread sylvatic ZIKV cycle there. Collectively, establishment of a ZIKV sylvatic transmission cycle in South America would imperil eradication efforts and could provide a mechanism for continued exposure of humans to ZIKV infection and disease.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to John A. Vanchiere, Department of Pediatrics, LSU Health Sciences Center–Shreveport, 1501 Kings Hwy, #5-303, Shreveport, LA 71130. E-mail: jvanch@lsuhsc.edu

Financial support: NIH grants P40OD010938 (C. R. A.), R24AI120942 (S. C. W.) and 1U01AI115577 (N. V.).

Authors’ addresses: John A. Vanchiere, Gloria B. McClure, and Donna L. Rogers, Department of Pediatrics, LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA, E-mails: jvanch@lsuhsc.edu, gmcclu@lsuhsc.edu, and droge1@lsuhsc.edu. Julio C. Ruiz, Alan G. Brady, Lawrence E. Williams, Wallace B. Baze, Gregory K. Wilkerson, Pramod N. Nehete, Joe H. Simmons, and Christian R. Abee, Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bastrop, TX, E-mails: jcruiz@mdanderson.org, agbrady@mdanderson.org, welawrence@mdanderson.org, wbaze@mdanderson.org, gkwilkerson@mdanderson.org, pnehete@mdanderson.org, jhsimmons1@mdanderson.org, and cabee@mdanderson.org. Thomas J. Kuehl, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Baylor Scott & White Health, Temple, TX, E-mail: thomas.kuehl@bswhealth.org. Shannan L. Rossi, Sasha R. Azar, Christopher M. Roundy, and Nikos Vasilakis, Department of Pathology and Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, E-mails: slrossi@utmb.edu, srazar@utmb.edu, cmroundy@utmb.edu, and nivasila@utmb.edu. Scott C. Weaver, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute for Human Infections and Immunity, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, E-mail: sweaver@utmb.edu.

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