Arboviruses Surveillance in Zoos and Animal Rescue Centers in Brazil

Lisis Jânala de Assis Fernandes, Sharon Deem, Jamie L. Palmer, Kathleen Apakupakul, MIlene Silveira Ferreira, Livia Caricio Martins, Lilian Silva Catenacci

Arbovirus transmission dynamics between wildlife, mosquitoes, and humans at the urban interface remains poorly understood. We evaluated the diversity and prevalence of arboviruses in new world captive primates in Brazilian cities that had high human prevalence of yellow fever, dengue and Zika.  We also collected and identified mosquitoes that may be involved in the transmission of arboviruses at the wildlife–human interface. Molecular diagnostics were performed at the Evandro Chagas Institute and the Federal University of Piauí. A total of 127 neotropical primates, 46 from São Paulo, 23 from Pernambuco, 27 from Ceará and 31 from Rio de Janeiro states were collected, consisting mostly of Alouatta spp. (n=20; 15%), Sapajus spp.(n=68; 53%) and Callithrix spp. (n=37; 29%). All sera samples were tested against 25 arbovirus antigens using a Hemaglutination Inhibition Test, with seven (3.93%) showing antibodies against members of the Flavivirus genus, including five samples from São Paulo and two from Ceará. The monotypic reaction found were against Saint Louis virus, with antibodies in Alouatta guariba and A. caraya from an animal rescue center in São Paulo.  We captured a total of 5432 mosquitoes using CDC traps and nets.  São Paulo had the highest number of mosquitoes (n= 3235) and the majority of the species collected were Aedes scapularis (n=1276) and Culex spp. (n=1766). We also found the highest abundance of Culex spp. and Aedes spp. in Ceará and Pernambuco.  All of these are known to be vectors for Flaviviruses, with Culex spp. as the main vector of Saint Louis virus. These culicids contribute to arbovirus circulation and may represent a risk for primates that live in captivity in zoos and rescue centers. Because of the high abundance of arbovirus vectors, we recommend nets to cover the enclosures, protecting primates from mosquitoes and minimizing the risk of infection for wildlife.

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