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mSphere, 31 January 2018

Andres Moreira-Soto, Ianei de Oliveira Carneiro, Carlo Fischer, Marie Feldmann, Beate M. Kümmerer, Nama Santos Silva, Uilton Góes Santos, Breno Frederico de Carvalho Dominguez Souza, Fernanda de Azevedo Liborio, Mônica Mafra Valença-Montenegro, Plautino de Oliveira Laroque, Fernanda Rosa da Fontoura, Alberto Vinicius Dantas Oliveira, Christian Drosten, Xavier de Lamballerie, Carlos Roberto Franke, Jan Felix Drexler
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and Zika virus (ZIKV) emerged in the Americas in 2013. Limited antigenic variability of CHIKV and ZIKV may restrict urban transmission cycles due to population protective immunity. In Africa, sylvatic transmission cycles involving nonhuman primates (NHP) are known for CHIKV and ZIKV, causing cyclic reemergence in humans. To evaluate whether sylvatic cycles can be expected in Latin America, we tested 207 NHP collected between 2012 and 2017 in urban and peri-urban settings in Brazil for infection with ZIKV and CHIKV. No animal tested positive for viral RNA in genus-specific and species-specific reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assays. In contrast, six animals (2.9%) from the families Atelidae, Callitrichidae, and Cebidae showed ZIKV-specific antibodies and 11 (5.3%) showed CHIKVspecific antibodies in plaque reduction neutralization tests (PRNT). Reactivity was monotypic against either ZIKV or CHIKV in all cases, opposing unspecific virucidal activity of sera. PRNT endpoint titers were low at 1:40 in all NHP, and positive specimens did not correspond to the likely dispersal route and time of introduction of both arboviruses. All antibody-positive samples were therefore tested against the NHP-associated yellow fever virus (YFV) and Mayaro virus (MAYV) and against the human-associated dengue virus (DENV) by PRNT. Two ZIKV-positive samples were simultaneously DENV positive and two CHIKV-positive samples were simultaneously MAYV positive, at titers of 1:40 to 1:160. This suggested cross-reactive antibodies against heterologous alphaviruses and flaviviruses in 24% of ZIKV-positive/CHIKVpositive sera. In sum, low seroprevalence, invariably low antibody titers, and the distribution of positive specimens call into question the capability of ZIKV and CHIKV to infect New World NHP and establish sylvatic transmission cycles.