Zika virus (ZIKV) became a worldwide public health emergency after its introduction in the Americas. Brazil was implicated as central in the ZIKV dispersion, however, a better understanding of the pathways the virus took to arrive in Brazil and the dispersion within the country is needed. An updated genome dataset was assembled with publicly available data. Bayesian phylogeography methods were applied to reconstruct the spatiotemporal history of ZIKV in the Americas and with more detail inside Brazil. Our analyses reconstructed the Brazilian state of Pernambuco as the likely point of introduction of ZIKV in Brazil, possibly during the 2013 Confederations Cup. Pernambuco played an important role in spreading the virus to other Brazilian states. Our results also underscore the long cryptic circulation of ZIKV in all analyzed locations in Brazil. Conclusions: This study brings new insights about the early moments of ZIKV in the Americas, especially regarding the Brazil-Haiti cluster at the base of the American clade and describing for the first time migration patterns within Brazil.
Year of publication: 2021
Date published: 12/2020