Methods: Two Bolivian squirrel monkeys (Saimiri boliviensis boliviensis) and Two Guyanese squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) were inoculated in early pregnancy with 10e5 plaque-forming units (PFU) of ZIKV isolated from Mexico during the current epidemic. Blood, urine and saliva specimens were collected every other day for the first 14 days post-inoculation and then every 14 days thereafter for quantitative PCR assessment of Zika virus replication. Seroconversion was documented by plaque neutralization assay at 28 days post-inoculation.
Results: All four animals remained clinically well after ZIKV inoculation and there were no abnormalities in the hematology and chemistry profiles performed at 5 days post-inoculation. Viremia was detected in two of the four animals inoculated with Zika virus, with peak viremia occurring at 5 and 9 days post-inoculation, followed by a rapid decline in detectable ZIKV. Viruria was detected at 9 and 14 days post-inoculation and salivary excretion was detected as late as 14 days post-inoculation. Three of the four ZIKV-inoculated animals had demonstrable neutralizing antibodies at 28 days post-inoculation.
Conclusion: This study provides evidence of the susceptibility of squirrel monkeys to infection with Asian-lineage ZIKV, supporting the hypothesis that these neotropical primates could serve as a reservoir and amplification host should a sylvatic cycle of ZIKV be established in South America.
N. Vasilakis, None
T. J. Kuehl, None
S. C. Weaver, None
C. R. Abee, None