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Role of monkeys in the sylvatic cycle of chikungunya virus in Senegal.

Abstract

Arboviruses spillover into humans either as a one-step jump from a reservoir host species into humans or as a two-step jump from the reservoir to an amplification host species and thence to humans. Little is known about arbovirus transmission dynamics in reservoir and amplification hosts. Here we elucidate the role of monkeys in the sylvatic, enzootic cycle of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) in the region around Kédougou, Senegal. Over 3 years, 737 monkeys were captured, aged using anthropometry and dentition, and tested for exposure to CHIKV by detection of neutralizing antibodies. Infant monkeys were positive for CHIKV even when the virus was not detected in a concurrent survey of mosquitoes and when population immunity was too high for monkeys alone to support continuous transmission. We conclude that monkeys in this region serve as amplification hosts of CHIKV. Additional efforts are needed to identify other hosts capable of supporting continuous circulation.

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