High infection rates for adult macaques after intravaginal or intrarectal inoculation with zika virus

Andrew D. Haddow, Aysegul Nalca, Franco D. Rossi, Lynn J. Miller, Michael R. Wiley, Unai Perez-Sautu, Samuel C. Washington, Sarah L. Norris, Suzanne E. Wollen-Roberts, Joshua D. Shamblin, Adrienne E. Kimmel, Holly A. Bloomfield, Stephanie M. Valdez, Thomas R. Sprague, Lucia M. Principe, Stephanie A. Bellanca, Stephanie S. Cinkovich, Luis Lugo-Roman, Lisa H. Cazares, William D. PrattGustavo F. Palacios, Sina Bavari, M. Louise Pitt, Farooq Nasar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Unprotected sexual intercourse between persons residing in or traveling from regions with Zika virus transmission is a risk factor for infection. To model risk for infection after sexual intercourse, we inoculated rhesus and cynomolgus macaques with Zika virus by intravaginal or intrarectal routes. In macaques inoculated intravaginally, we detected viremia and virus RNA in 50% of macaques, followed by seroconversion. In macaques inoculated intrarectally, we detected viremia, virus RNA, or both, in 100% of both species, followed by seroconversion. The magnitude and duration of infectious virus in the blood of macaques suggest humans infected with Zika virus through sexual transmission will likely generate viremias sufficient to infect competent mosquito vectors. Our results indicate that transmission of Zika virus by sexual intercourse might serve as a virus maintenance mechanism in the absence of mosquito-to-human transmission and could increase the probability of establishment and spread of Zika virus in regions where this virus is not present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1274-1281
Number of pages8
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


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