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Open AccessArticle

Silent Circulation of the Saint Louis Encephalitis Virus among Humans and Equids, Southeast Brazil

1
Laboratório de Vírus, Departamento de Microbiologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Avenida Presidente Antônio Carlos, 6627, Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais 31270901, Brasil
2
Laboratório de Pesquisa em Virologia Animal, Departamento de Medicina Veterinária Preventiva, Escola de Veterinária, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais 31270901, Brazil
3
Laboratório de Retroviroses, Departamento de Medicina Veterinária Preventiva, Escola de Veterinária, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais 31270901, Brazil
4
Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri, Diamantina 39100000, Brazil
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors have contributed equally to this work.
Present address: Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.
Viruses 2019, 11(11), 1029; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11111029
Received: 15 September 2019 / Revised: 29 October 2019 / Accepted: 2 November 2019 / Published: 5 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Viruses: Surveillance, Prevention, Evolution and Control)
Saint Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that occurs throughout the Americas, and is considered a public health threat. In Brazil, SLEV has been detected from human cases associated with dengue-like disease, but no neurological symptoms were reported. Furthermore, the epidemiology of SLEV in human populations is still poorly explored in the country. We reported serological and molecular detection of SLEV in a healthy population of equids and humans from rural areas in Southeast Brazil. A plaque reduction neutralization test was applied, and neutralizing antibodies were detected in 11 individuals (4.6%) and 60 horses (21.5%). A qPCR targeting the 5′UTR region and reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) targeting the non-structural protein (NS5) gene were performed and three individuals tested positive in both assays. Subsequent phylogenetic analysis confirmed SLEV circulation and its findings suggest the occurrence of an asymptomatic or subclinical presence in human and animal cases, correlating with the risks for outbreaks and consequently burden of SLEV infections to public health. Preventive strategies should include improved surveillance in regions with a high probability of SLEV occurrence, improvement in diagnostic methods, and evaluation of exposure/risk factors that can favor SLEV emergence. View Full-Text
Keywords: Saint Louis encephalitis virus; seroprevalence; epidemiology; asymptomatic cases; public health burden Saint Louis encephalitis virus; seroprevalence; epidemiology; asymptomatic cases; public health burden
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Barbosa Costa, G.; Marinho, P.E.S.; Vilela, A.P.P.; Saraiva-Silva, A.T.; Crispim, A.P.C.; Borges, I.A.; Dutra, A.G.S.; Lobato, Z.I.P.; dos Reis, J.K.P.; de Oliveira, D.B.; Drumond, B.P.; Kroon, E.G.; Trindade, G.S. Silent Circulation of the Saint Louis Encephalitis Virus among Humans and Equids, Southeast Brazil. Viruses 2019, 11, 1029.

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