The yellow fever virus (YFV) caused a severe outbreak in Brazil in 2016–2018 that rapidly spread across the Atlantic Forest in its most populated region without viral circulation for almost 80 years. A comprehensive entomological survey combining analysis of distribution, abundance and YFV natural infection in mosquitoes captured before and during the outbreak was conducted in 44 municipalities of five Brazilian states. In total, 17,662 mosquitoes of 89 species were collected. Before evidence of virus circulation, mosquitoes were tested negative but traditional vectors were alarmingly detected in 82% of municipalities, revealing high receptivity to sylvatic transmission. During the outbreak, five species were found positive in 42% of municipalities. Haemagogus janthinomys and Hg. leucocelaenus are considered the primary vectors due to their large distribution combined with high abundance and natural infection rates, concurring together for the rapid spread and severity of this outbreak. Aedes taeniorhynchus was found infected for the first time, but like Sabethes chloropterus and Aedes scapularis , it appears to have a potential local or secondary role because of their low abundance, distribution and infection rates. There was no evidence of YFV transmission by Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti, although the former was the most widespread species across affected municipalities, presenting an important overlap between the niches of the sylvatic vectors and the anthropic ones. The definition of receptive areas, expansion of vaccination in the most affected age group and exposed populations and the adoption of universal vaccination to the entire Brazilian population need to be urgently implemented.
Zika virus (ZIKV) has caused a major epidemic in Brazil and several other American countries. ZIKV is an arbovirus whose natural vectors during epidemics have been poorly determined. In this study, 1,683 mosquitoes collected in the vicinity of ZIKV suspected cases in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 2015 to May 2016 were screened for natural infection by using molecular methods. Three pools of Aedes aegypti were found with the ZIKV genome, one of which had only one male. This finding supports the occurrence of vertical and/or venereal transmission of ZIKV in Ae. aegypti in nature. None of the examined Ae. albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus was positive. This is the first report of natural infection by ZIKV in mosquitoes in Brazil and other South American countries. So far, Ae. aegypti is the only confirmed vector of ZIKV during the ongoing Pan-American epidemics.
BackgroundThe Americas have suffered a dramatic epidemic of Zika since May in 2015, when Zika virus (ZIKV) was first detected in Brazil. Mosquitoes belonging to subgenus Stegomyia of Aedes, particularly Aedes aegypti, are considered the primary vectors of ZIKV. However, the rapid spread of the virus across the continent raised several concerns about the transmission dynamics, especially about potential mosquito vectors. The purpose of this work was to assess the vector competence of the house mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus from an epidemic Zika area, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for local circulating ZIKV isolates.Methodology/Principal FindingsCulex quinquefasciatus and Ae. aegypti (positive control of ZIKV infection) from Rio de Janeiro were orally exposed to two ZIKV strains isolated from human cases from Rio de Janeiro (Rio-U1 and Rio-S1). Fully engorged mosquitoes were held in incubators at 26 ± 1°C, 12 h:12 h light:dark cycle and 70 ± 10% humidity. For each combination mosquito population—ZIKV strain, 30 specimens were examined for infection, dissemination and transmission rates, at 7, 14 and 21 days after virus exposure by analyzing body (thorax plus abdomen), head and saliva respectively. Infection rates were minimal to completely absent in all Cx. quinquefasciatus-virus combinations and were significantly high for Ae. aegypti. Moreover, dissemination and transmission were not detected in any Cx. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes whatever the incubation period and the ZIKV isolate. In contrast, Ae. aegypti ensured high viral dissemination and moderate to very high transmission.Conclusions/SignificanceThe southern house mosquito Cx. quinquefasciatus from Rio de Janeiro was not competent to transmit local strains of ZIKV. Thus, there is no experimental evidence that Cx. quinquefasciatus likely plays a role in the ZIKV transmission. Consequently, at least in Rio, mosquito control to reduce ZIKV transmission should remain focused on Ae. aegypti.
The current outbreak of yellow fever virus (YFV) that is afflicting Brazil since the end of 2016 probably originated from a re-introduction of YFV from endemic areas into the non-endemic Southeastern Brazil. However, the lack of genomic sequences from endemic regions hinders the tracking of YFV’s dissemination routes. We assessed the origin and spread of the ongoing YFV Brazilian outbreak analyzing a new set of YFV strains infecting humans, non-human primates (NHPs) and mosquitoes sampled across five Brazilian states from endemic and non-endemic regions between 2015 and 2018. We found two YFV sub-clade 1E lineages circulating in NHP from Goiás state (GO), resulting from independent viral introductions into the Araguaia tributary river basin: while one strain from 2017 clustered intermingled with Venezuelan YFV strains from 2000, the other YFV strains sampled in 2015 and 2017 clustered with sequences of the current YFV outbreak in the Brazilian Southeastern region (named YFV 2015-2018 lineage), displaying the same molecular signature associated to the current YFV outbreak. After its introduction in GO at around mid-2014, the YFV 2015-2018 lineage followed two paths of dissemination outside GO, originating two major YFV sub-lineages: (1) the YFV MG/ES/RJ sub-lineage spread sequentially from the eastern area of Minas Gerais state to Espírito Santo and then to Rio de Janeiro states, following the Southeast Atlantic basin; (2) the YFV MG/SP sub-lineage spread from the southwestern area of Minas Gerais to the metropolitan region of São Paulo state, following the Paraná basin. These results indicate the ongoing YFV outbreak in Southeastern Brazil originated from a dissemination event from GO almost 2 years before its recognition at the end of 2016. From GO this lineage was introduced in Minas Gerais state at least two times, originating two sub-lineages that followed different routes toward densely populated areas. The spread of YFV outside endemic regions for at least 4 years stresses the imperative importance of the continuous monitoring of YFV to aid decision-making for effective control policies aiming the increase of vaccination coverage to avoid the YFV transmission in densely populated urban centers.
The current yellow fever outbreak in Brazil is the most severe one in the country in recent times. It has rapidly spread to areas where YF virus (YFV) activity has not been observed for more than 70 years and vaccine coverage is almost null. Here, we sequenced the whole YFV genome of two naturally infected howler-monkeys (Alouatta clamitans) obtained from the Municipality of Domingos Martins, state of Espírito Santo, Brazil. These two ongoing-outbreak genome sequences are identical. They clustered in the 1E sub-clade (South America genotype I) along with the Brazilian and Venezuelan strains recently characterised from infections in humans and non-human primates that have been described in the last 20 years. However, we detected eight unique amino acid changes in the viral proteins, including the structural capsid protein (one change), and the components of the viral replicase complex, the NS3 (two changes) and NS5 (five changes) proteins, that could impact the capacity of viral infection in vertebrate and/or invertebrate hosts and spreading of the ongoing outbreak.
BACKGROUND In Brazil, the Yellow Fever virus (YFV) is endemic in the Amazon, from where it eventually expands into epidemic waves. Coastal southeastern (SE) Brazil, which has been a YFV-free region for eight decades, has reported a severe sylvatic outbreak since 2016. The virus spread from the north toward the south of the Rio de Janeiro (RJ) state, causing 307 human cases with 105 deaths during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 transmission seasons. It is unclear, however, whether the YFV would persist in the coastal Atlantic Forest of RJ during subsequent transmission seasons. OBJECTIVES To conduct a real-time surveillance and assess the potential persistence of YFV in the coastal Atlantic Forest of RJ during the 2018-2019 transmission season. METHODS We combined epizootic surveillance with fast diagnostic and molecular, phylogenetic, and evolutionary analyses. FINDINGS Using this integrative strategy, we detected the first evidence of YFV re-emergence in the third transmission season (2018-2019) in a dying howler monkey from the central region of the RJ state. The YFV detected in 2019 has the molecular signature associated with the current SE YFV outbreak and exhibited a close phylogenetic relationship with the YFV lineage that circulated in the same Atlantic Forest fragment during the past seasons. This lineage circulated along the coastal side of the Serra do Mar mountain chain, and its evolution seems to be mainly driven by genetic drift. The potential bridge vector Aedes albopictus was found probing on the recently dead howler monkey in the forest edge, very close to urban areas. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Collectively, our data revealed that YFV transmission persisted at the same Atlantic Forest area for at least three consecutive transmission seasons without the need of new introductions. Our real-time surveillance strategy permitted health authorities to take preventive actions within 48 h after the detection of the sick non-human primate. The local virus persistence and the proximity of the epizootic forest to urban areas reinforces the concern with regards to the risk of reurbanisation and seasonal re-emergence of YFV, stressing the need for continuous effective surveillance and high vaccination coverage in the SE region, particularly in RJ, an important tourist location.
BackgroundAlternative transmission routes have been described for Zika virus (ZIKV). Here, we assessed for the first time the venereal transmission of ZIKV between Aedes aegypti under laboratory conditions. ResultsOrally-infected mosquito females were able to transmit the virus to males venereally, and males inoculated intrathoracically were capable of infecting females during mating. The genome of venereally-transmitted virus recovered from males was identical to that of ZIKV ingested by mated females.ConclusionWe conclude that venereal transmission between Aedes mosquitoes might contribute to Zika virus maintenance in nature.
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