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First detection of natural infection of Aedes aegypti with Zika virus in Brazil and throughout South America


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.

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