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Zika virus antibody-positivity among symptomatic/asymptomatic pregnant women in the Aseer region displays pre-exposure to dengue viruses

Trop Biomed. 2023 Sep 1;40(3):337-343. doi: 10.47665/tb.40.3.010.


Antibody cross-reactivity among flaviviruses is a major limitation in understanding the prevalence without vector control measures. In this study, we investigated the presence of Zika virus (ZIKV)-specific antibodies and the significance of their cross-reactivity with other flaviviruses, which could affect the serological specificity in both symptomatic and asymptomatic pregnant women. Among the results obtained from 217 serum samples tested for ZIKV-specific IgM and IgG, no specific predictions regarding seropositivity or exposure due to extensive cross-reactivity with dengue virus (DENV) serology could be made. Clear-cut positivity was observed in 1.8% (n = 4) and 1.0% (n = 2) for ZIKV IgM and IgG, respectively. The same samples assessed for DENV showed 1.3% (n = 3) seropositivity each for IgM and IgG levels. None of the samples were positive for ZIKV and DENV IgM or IgG. However, one sample (0.4%) tested positive for ZIKV and DENV IgM. No significant correlation was observed between DENV IgM and IgG when comparing the overlapped serotiters. On the other hand, the ZIKV IgG-positive sample showed higher serotiters for DENV IgG, indicating cross-reactivity with ZIKV but without statistical significance. Therefore, screening for the incidence of ZIKV becomes particularly challenging in a population where the presence or pre-exposure to DENV is observed. Our observations further suggest that unless flavivirus prevalence is properly addressed, determining the prevalence of ZIKV antibodies, which may be confounded with other uninvestigated flaviviruses, will be complicated.

PMID:37897167 | DOI:10.47665/tb.40.3.010

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