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Enzootic Transmission of Yellow Fever Virus, Venezuela - Volume 21, Number 1—January 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

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Enzootic Transmission of Yellow Fever Virus, Venezuela - Volume 21, Number 1—January 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC


Volume 21, Number 1—January 2015


Enzootic Transmission of Yellow Fever Virus, Venezuela

Albert J. Auguste, Philippe Lemey, Nicholas A. Bergren, Dileyvic Giambalvo, Maria Moncada, Dulce Morón, Rosa Hernandez, Juan-Carlos Navarro, and Scott C. WeaverComments to Author 
Author affiliations: University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA (A.J. Auguste, N.A. Bergren, S.C. Weaver)Rega Institute, Leuven, Belgium (P. Lemey)Ciudad Universitaria, Caracas, Venezuela (D. Giambalvo, M. Moncada, D. Morón, R. Hernandez)Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas (J.-C. Navarro)


Phylogenetic analysis of yellow fever virus (YFV) strains isolated from Venezuela strongly supports YFV maintenance in situ in Venezuela, with evidence of regionally independent evolution within the country. However, there is considerable YFV movement from Brazil to Venezuela and between Trinidad and Venezuela.
Yellow fever virus (YFV) is the prototype species for the genus Flavivirus. Historically, YFV is one of the most important human arboviral pathogens. It continues to cause large sporadic epidemics in Africa but typically emerges as epizootics among nonhuman primates in South America with or without associated human cases (15). YFV emergence is cyclical; outbreaks occur ≈7–10 years apart. Several phylogenetic studies have shown that YFV is locally maintained during these interepizootic periods in Peru (6), Brazil (7), and Trinidad (4). These studies also have indicated that the virus undergoes regionally independent evolution within some countries (6).
YFV has caused sporadic outbreaks in Venezuela; the most recently documented epizootic/epidemic occurred in 2005 (8). Although endemic to Venezuela, YFV has very rarely been isolated and characterized, and partial sequences have been determined only for 4 strains. Venezuela is located between Trinidad and Brazil, which have contributed major evidence for the enzootic maintenance of YFV in South America. Thus, sequencing Venezuelan YFV strains over a wide geographic area and temporal distribution might be valuable to test the hypothesis of local maintenance in Venezuela and to determine whether the virus moves regularly between Trinidad and Venezuela or between Venezuela and Brazil. Understanding the maintenance and spread of YFV in South America also is critical for developing effective surveillance and prevention strategies. We sequenced a prM/E gene fragment of 10 YFV isolates from 4 locations within Venezuela, spanning 6 years (2004–2010; Table 1). Additionally, we sequenced complete genomes for 5 representative isolates for comparison with 12 previously determined genomic sequences (4,9).

Dr. Auguste is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas. His research interests include understanding the ecologic and evolutionary factors involved in emergence, dispersal, and maintenance of arboviruses and the genetic and structural characterization of novel arboviruses.


We thank Lola Bravo, Cinda Martínez, and Humberto Montañez for help with virus isolations.
This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease through the Western Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Disease Research, National Institutes of Health grant U54 AIO57156. A.J.A. was supported by the McLaughlin Fellowship Fund. J.C.N. was supported by El Fondo Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación, Mision Ciencia 2008000911-4, Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología.
The GenBank accession numbers for the YFV sequences derived in this study are KM388814–KM388823.


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Technical Appendix

Suggested citation for this article: Auguste AJ, Lemey J, Bergren NA, Giambalvo D, Moncada M, Morón D, et al. Enzootic transmission of yellow fever virus, Venezuela. Emerg Infect Dis [Internet]. 2015 Jan [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2101.140814
DOI: 10.3201/eid2101.140814

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