Molecular detection of Zika virus in blood and RNA load determination during the French Polynesian outbreak.
| ID: mdl-27859375
BACKGROUND: Zika virus (ZIKV) viremia is reported as low and transient, however, these estimates rely on limited data. We report RNA loads in sera collected from symptomatic patients during the 2013-2014 French Polynesian ZIKV outbreak. METHODS: We performed molecular detection of ZIKV RNA in sera from 747 patients presenting with suspected acute phase ZIKV infection. Among patients with confirmed infection, we analyzed the duration of viremia, assessed viral RNA loads and recorded the main clinical symptoms. RESULTS: A total of 210/747 (28.1%) sera tested positive using a ZIKV-specific RT-PCR. Viral RNA loads in symptomatic patients that ranged from 5 to 3.7 × 10 copies/mL (mean 9.9 × 10 copies/mL) were not related to a particular clinical presentation, and were significantly lower than those previously obtained from asymptomatic ZIKV infected blood donors. CONCLUSIONS: The rate of detection of ZIKV RNA in sera from suspected cases of acute phase ZIKV infection was low. ZIKV RNA loads were lower in symptomatic patients compared to asymptomatic blood donors and were lower than RNA loads usually reported in dengue infections. As there is no abrupt onset of symptoms in ZIKV infections, we suggest that infected patients sought for medical attention when viremia was already decreasing or had resolved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.