October 30, 2018
Zika virus has been detected in dead monkeys found in Brazil near São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo State, and Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. The animals had been shot or beaten to death by locals who thought they had yellow fever. In fact, the monkeys were not bearers of that disease, but infection by Zika virus had made them sick and more vulnerable to attack by humans.
“The discovery shows the potential exists for Zika to establish a sylvatic transmission cycle [involving wild animals] in Brazil, as already occurs in the case of yellow fever. If the wild cycle is confirmed, it completely changes the epidemiology of Zika because it means there’s a natural reservoir from which the virus can reinfect the human population much more frequently,” Maurício Lacerda Nogueira, principal investigator for the study funded by São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP, told. Nogueira is a professor at São José do Rio Preto Medical School (FAMERP) and chairs the Brazilian Society for Virology (SBV).