Andres Moreira-Soto, Gilmara de Souza Sampaio, Célia Pedroso, Ignacio Postigo-Hidalgo, Beatrice Sarah Berneck, Sebastian Ulbert, Carlos Brites, Eduardo Martins Netto & Jan Felix Drexler
Zika virus (ZIKV) is a positive-stranded RNA virus within the Flaviviridae family. After decades of circulation in Asia, ZIKV was introduced to Brazil in 2014–2015, associated with a rise in congenital malformations. Unlike the genetically related dengue virus (DENV), ZIKV constitutes only one serotype. Although assumed that ZIKV infection may engender lifelong immunity, the long-term kinetics of ZIKV antibody responses are unclear. We assessed long-term kinetics of ZIKV NS1-IgG response in 144 individuals from 3 different subpopulations: HIV patients, tuberculosis patients and healthy individuals first tested in 2016 and retested 1.5–2 years after the 2015–2016 ZIKV epidemic in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, using a widely distributed NS1-based commercial ELISA. The seropositivity in 2016 reached 59.0% (85/144, 95% confidence interval (CI) 50.7–66.7%), and decreased to 38.6% (56/144, CI 31.3–47.0%) 1.5–2 years later. In addition, the median ZIKV NS1-ELISA reactivity for individuals that remained positive in both timepoints significantly decreased from a ratio of 4.4 (95% CI 3.8–5.0) to 1.6 (95% CI 1.6–1.9) over the 2-year interval (Z: − 6.1; p < 0.001) irrespective of the subpopulation analyzed. Initial 2016 DENV antibody response was non-significant between groups, suggesting comparable DENV background. The high 20.6% seroreversion suggest that widely used serologic tests may fail to account a considerable proportion of past ZIKV infections in flavivirus endemic countries. In addition, ZIKV immunity might be shorter-lived than previously thought, which may contribute to local ZIKV resurgence once individual immune responses wane sufficiently to reduce community protective immunity in addition to birth and migration.