Serologic evidence for an epizootic dengue virus infecting toque macaques (Macaca sinica) at Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka.

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  • 1 Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Dengue is one of the most rapidly emerging diseases in the tropics. Humans are the principal reservoir of dengue viruses. It is unclear if nonhuman primates also serve as a reservoir of human dengue viruses under certain conditions. In this study, a cross-sectional serologic survey was carried out to characterize the pattern of transmission of a recently identified dengue virus among toque macaques in Sri Lanka. The results indicated that an epizootic dengue virus was active among the macaques. A single epizootic had taken place between October 1986 and February 1987 during which 94% of the macaques within the 3 km2 study site were exposed to the virus. The epizootic was highly focal in nature because macaques living 5 km from the study population were not exposed to the virus. The transmission of dengue viruses among macaques in the wild may have important public health implications.