Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Rio de Janeiro, The Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), JSPS Grant-in-Aid for scientific research, Secretary for Health Surveillance of the Brazilian Ministry of Health, Global Fund, Fundaçao de amparo à pesquisa do estado de Minas Gerais (Fapemig), and PRONEX Program of the CNPq.
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.
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.
The invasive species Aedes albopictus is present in 60% of Brazilian municipalities, including at the interfaces between urban settings and forests that are zoonotic arbovirus hotspots. We investigated Ae. albopictus colonization, adult dispersal and host feeding patterns in the anthropic-natural interface of three forested sites covering three biomes in Brazil in 2016. To evaluate whether an ecological overlap exists between Ae. albopictus and sylvatic yellow fever virus (YFV) in forests, we performed similar investigations in seven additional urban-forest interfaces where YFV circulated in 2017. We found Ae. albopictus in all forested sites. We detected eggs and adults up to 300 and 500 m into the forest, respectively, demonstrating that Ae. albopictus forest colonization and dispersal decrease with distance from the forest edge. Analysis of the host identity in blood-engorged females indicated that they fed mainly on humans and domestic mammals, suggesting rare contact with wildlife at the forest edge. Our results show that Ae. albopictus frequency declines as it penetrates into the forest and highlight its potential role as a bridge vector of zoonotic diseases at the edge of the Brazilian forests studied.
Despite the importance of the mosquito Aedes aegypti in the transmission of arboviruses, such as yellow fever, Chikungunya fever and dengue fever, some aspects of their behaviour remain unknown. In the present study, the oviposition behaviour of Ae. aegypti females that were exposed to different densities of breeding sites (2, 4, 8 and 16) was evaluated in laboratory and semi-field conditions. The number of breeding sites that were used was proportional to the number available, but tended towards stabilisation. Females used four-six breeding sites on average, with a maximum of 11. A high percentage of eggs was observed in the water, along with the presence of a breeding site termed “favourite”, which received at least 40% of the eggs. The results are discussed in ecological, evolutionary and epidemiological approaches.
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.
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