Potential of Ilhéus virus to emerge

Kenneth S. Plante, Jessica A. Plante, Sasha R. Azar, Divya P. Shinde, Dionna Scharton, Alice F. Versiani, Natalia Ingrid Oliveira da Silva, Taylor Strange, Lívia Sacchetto, Eric B. Fokam, Shannan L. Rossi, Scott C. Weaver, Rafael E. Marques, Mauricio L. Nogueira, Nikos Vasilakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ilhéus virus (ILHV)(Flaviviridae:Orthoflavivirus) is an arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) endemic to Central and South America and the Caribbean. First isolated in 1944, most of our knowledge derives from surveillance and seroprevalence studies. These efforts have detected ILHV in a broad range of mosquito and vertebrate species, including humans, but laboratory investigations of pathogenesis and vector competence have been lacking. Here, we develop an immune intact murine model with several ages and routes of administration. Our model closely recapitulates human neuroinvasive disease with ILHV strain- and mouse age-specific virulence, as well as a uniformly lethal Ifnar−/− A129 immunocompromised model. Replication kinetics in several vertebrate and invertebrate cell lines demonstrate that ILHV is capable of replicating to high titers in a wide variety of potential host and vector species. Lastly, vector competence studies provide strong evidence for efficient infection of and potential transmission by Aedes species mosquitoes, despite ILHV's phylogenetically clustering with Culex vectored flaviviruses, suggesting ILHV is poised for emergence in the neotropics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere27934
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 30 2024


  • Animal models
  • Flavivirus
  • Ilhéus virus
  • Replication kinetics
  • Vector competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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