Zika virus (ZIKV) was first isolated in 1947 in primates in Uganda, West Africa. The virus remained confined to the equatorial regions of Africa and Asia, cycling between infecting monkeys, arboreal mosquitoes, and occasional humans. The ZIKV Asiatic strain was probably introduced into Brazil in 2013. In the current critical human epidemic in the Americas, ZIKV is transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, especially where the human population density is combined with poor sanitation. Presently, ZIKV is in contact with the rich biodiversity in all Brazilian biomes, bordering on other Latin American countries. Infections in Brazilian primates have been reported recently, but the overall impact of this virus on wildlife in the Americas is still unknown. The current epidemic in the Americas requires knowledge on the role of mammals, especially non-human primates, in ZIKV transmission to humans. The article discusses the available data on ZIKV in host animals, besides issues of biodiversity, rapid environmental change, and impact on human health in megadiverse Latin American countries. The authors reviewed scientific articles and recent news stories on ZIKV in animals, showing that 47 animal species from three orders (mammals, reptiles, and birds) have been investigated for the potential to establish a sylvatic cycle. The review aims to contribute to epidemiological studies and the knowledge on the natural history of ZIKV. The article concludes with questions that require urgent attention in epidemiological studies involving wildlife in order to understand their role as ZIKV hosts and to effectively control the epidemic.
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- 2,107 diseases are shared between humans and animals
- "71.8% of emerging diseases are caused by pathogens originating in wildlife "
- “6,000 primates and 10,000 mosquitoes are enough to support a ZIKV transmission Cycle”
- Kenya 1977 “. . small wild mammals (5.9%), and reptiles (27.7%) tested positive for ZIKV”
- “Public policy and elimination efforts in the Americas are currently based mainly on vector control and personal protection measures, so the high number of wild species with the potential to establish a sylvatic cycle makes elimination extremely difficult if not impossible”