In Africa, where Zika originated, it was first isolated in a captive, sentinel rhesus monkey, which was being used for routine Yellow Fever surveillance. Like many arboviruses, the Zika and Yellow fever virus are often maintained in non-human animal reservoirs, like monkeys.
This cycle - where mosquitoes infect and carry the virus from non-human hosts, is called the Slyvatic (Jungle) cycle.
Arboviruses can also have an urban cycle, where no non-human host is required. We've seen this with Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika in the Americas. It usually requires a fairly dense population of susceptible human hosts in order to sustain an outbreak.
In South and Central America, Yellow Fever has a Sylvatic cycle (Howler Monkeys), but so far it has been unknown whether Zika would find a suitable jungle reservoir host.
Today (h/t Greg Folkers on Twitter), we have a brief paper that suggests Zika may be finding a home in South American non-human primates.
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AbstractSamples from sera and oral swabs from fifteen marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) and nine capuchin-monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) captured in Ceara State in Brazil were tested for Zika virus. Samples were positive by Real time PCR and sequencing of the amplified product from a capuchin monkey showed 100% similarity to other ZIKV from South America. This is the first report on ZIKV detection among Neotropical primates.
From the full text:
We tested samples from sera and oral swabs from fifteen marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) and nine capuchin-monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus) captured (SISbio license 45196-3) from July to November of 2015 in Ceará State, an epidemic area for ZIKV.
Preliminary detection of these samples indicated 29% of positivity (7/24) by Real time PCR2 (Cycle Threshold Ct average 31,64 to 37,78). We found four positive samples from marmosets and three positive samples from capuchin monkeys.
And the Zika story continues to evolve. . . .