Public Release: 

Post-epidemic seroprevalence of Zika virus in Nicaragua

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Researchers report results of a Zika virus seroprevalence study in Managua, Nicaragua following the 2016 epidemic. In 2015 and 2016, a Zika virus epidemic spread throughout the Americas. Though most cases resulted in mild symptoms, maternal infection during pregnancy was associated with birth defects. The seroprevalence of antibodies against Zika virus after the epidemic in the affected population was unknown. Eva Harris and colleagues tested blood samples from 3,740 children and 1,074 adults from a district of Managua, Nicaragua, and used an assay to identify antibodies against Zika virus independent of antibodies against the closely related dengue virus. The authors found that 36% of the pediatric cohort and 56% of the adult cohort were seropositive. Seropositivity was higher in females than males, across almost all age groups, but increased nonlinearly with age, with seropositivity increasing rapidly with age in children and leveling off with age in adults. The results also revealed a positive relationship between seropositivity and body surface area in children, consistent with previous reports that mosquito virus vectors prefer to feed on large targets. According to the authors, the high post-epidemic seroprevalence in a previously naïve population suggests high levels of immunity against Zika virus.

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Article #18-04672: "Seroprevalence, risk factor, and spatial analyses of Zika virus infection after the 2016 epidemic in Managua, Nicaragua," by José Victor Zambrana et al.

MEDIA CONTACT: Eva Harris, University of California, Berkeley, CA; tel: 510-642-4845; e-mail: eharris@berkeley.edu

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