In addition to our studies on primates from Africa, we have begun to look at the prevalence of ZIKV in primates from the caribbean. We examined plasma of 35 vervet monkeys from St. Kitts for antibodies to ZIKV by ELISA, and none tested positive.Due to the active transmission of ZIKV in nearby islands, we expect this NHP population to soon be exposed to ZIKV. However, the most prevalent mosquito on the island, Aedes Aegypti, is known to prefer prefer blood meals from human sources. Therefore, the mosquitoes carrying ZIKV may be present but simply feeding on the island's human inhabitants rather than its primates. We plan to follow up on these observations with RT-qPCR for each animal, where we may see active infection due to the recent arrival of ZIKV.
The map below will be updated as the project progresses to show how our data fits with what has been seen before. The past data used to make this map is summarized well here by Musso and Gubler (2016).We are following up on this data to thoroughly rule out cross-reactivity with antibodies against other viruses and search for viral sequences that might confirm ZIKV infection.
As part of our ongoing efforts to address Zika virus using a non-human primate model, the lab has begun to investigate the prevalence of ZIKV in wild primates around the world. To accomplish this, we look for ZIKV-specific antibodies or ZIKV RNA sequences in plasma collected from these animals. This project will expand our knowledge of the zoonotic presence of Zika virus and help us better understand the spread of infection between primates and humans.Validation of the ZIKV-specific ELISA assay can be found here, and information about our qRT-PCR protocol can be found hereTo see data from a specific country, you can click the name of that country above.