Potential for Zika virus to establish a sylvatic transmission cycle in the Americas

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Benjamin M AlthouseKathryn A Hanley


Zika virus (ZIKV) originated and continues to circulate in a sylvatic transmission cycle between non-human primate hosts and arboreal mosquitoes in tropical Africa. Recently ZIKV invaded the Americas, where it poses a threat to human health, especially to pregnant women and their infants. Here we examine the risk that ZIKV will establish a sylvatic cycle in the Americas, focusing on Brazil. We review the natural history of sylvatic ZIKV and present a mathematical dynamic transmission model to assess the probability of establishment of a sylvatic ZIKV transmission cycle in non-human primates and/or other mammals and arboreal mosquito vectors in Brazil. Brazil is home to multiple species of primates and mosquitoes potentially capable of ZIKV transmission, though direct assessment of host competence (ability to mount viremia sufficient to infect a feeding mosquito) and vector competence (ability to become infected with ZIKV and disseminate and transmit upon subsequent feedings) of New World species is lacking. Modeling reveals a high probability of establishment of sylvatic ZIKV across a large range of biologically plausible parameters. Probability of establishment is dependent on host population sizes and birthrates and ZIKV forc...Continue Reading

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