No evidence for sylvatic cycles of chikungunya, dengue and Zika viruses in African green monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) on St. Kitts, West Indies

Matthew John Valentine, Brenda Ciraola, Matthew Thomas Aliota, Michel Vandenplas, Silvia Marchi, Bernard Tenebray, Isabelle Leparc-Goffart, Christa Ann Gallagher, Amy Beierschmitt, Tatiana Corey, Kerry Mc Auliffe Dore, Xavier de Lamballerie, Chengming Wang, Courtney Cuin Murdock, Patrick John Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses (DENV, CHIKV and ZIKV) are transmitted in sylvatic transmission cycles between non-human primates and forest (sylvan) mosquitoes in Africa and Asia. It remains unclear if sylvatic cycles exist or could establish themselves elsewhere and contribute to the epidemiology of these diseases. The Caribbean island of St. Kitts has a large African green monkey (AGM) (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) population and is therefore ideally suited to investigate sylvatic cycles.

METHODS: We tested 858 AGM sera by ELISA and PRNT for virus-specific antibodies and collected and identified 9704 potential arbovirus vector mosquitoes. Mosquitoes were homogenized in 513 pools for testing by viral isolation in cell culture and by multiplex RT-qPCR after RNA extraction to detect the presence of DENV, CHIKV and ZIKVs. DNA was extracted from 122 visibly blood-fed individual mosquitoes and a polymorphic region of the hydroxymethylbilane synthase gene (HMBS) was amplified by PCR to determine if mosquitoes had fed on AGMs or humans.

RESULTS: All of the AGMs were negative for DENV, CHIKV or ZIKV antibodies. However, one AGM did have evidence of an undifferentiated Flavivirus infection. Similarly, DENV, CHIKV and ZIKV were not detected in any of the mosquito pools by PCR or culture. AGMs were not the source of any of the mosquito blood meals.

CONCLUSION: Sylvatic cycles involving AGMs and DENV, CHIKV and ZIKV do not currently exist on St. Kitts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number540
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 30 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The project was funded by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases grant number 1R21AI128407-01 and the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Acknowledgements

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).


  • Arboviruses
  • Blood-meal analysis
  • Chikungunya
  • Dengue
  • Mosquitoes
  • Non-human primates
  • Sylvatic cycles
  • Zika

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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