Zika virus (ZIKV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus, has emerged in the New World where susceptible populations of new vectors of transmission may arise and the disease may spread more rapidly than what occurs in endemic areas. Studies are urgently needed to fully understand the range of mosquito species capable of transmitting ZIKV in the new world. Our group isolated Zika virus (ZIKV) from Haitian children who presented at our University of Florida-affiliated clinic in Haiti with undifferentiated febrile illnesses in December, 2014, and determined the complete genomic sequence of one indicating that ZIKV has been introduced and established in Haiti (new ecological and environmental niche) by 2014. The University of Florida field site in Haiti is uniquely positioned to make a significant contribution in elucidating the mosquito species capable of transmitting ZIKV in the new world, and whether vertical transmission, a potential maintenance mechanism of the virus, occurs in nature. The information generated in our studies will be immediate use because we will better understand ecological drivers of ZIKV and what we learn in Haiti could be applicable to Florida and other southern states of the US due to similarity of mosquito species. Moreover, the US government has identified Haiti, which lacks an effective mosquito control organization, as a key Zika virus transmission region of great concern.
|Effective start/end date||1/09/16 → 31/08/18|
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $100,000.00