A report on the outbreak of Zika virus on Easter Island, South Pacific, 2014
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Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus circulating in Asia and Africa. In 2013, a large outbreak was reported on the archipelago of French Polynesia. In this study, we report the detection and molecular characterization of Zika virus for the first time in Chile from an outbreak among the inhabitants of Easter Island. A total of 89 samples from patients suspected of having ZIKV infection were collected between the period from January to May, 2014. Molecular diagnosis of the virus was performed by RT-PCR followed by the sequencing of the region containing the NS5 gene. A comparison of the viral nucleic acid sequence with those of other strains of ZIKA virus was performed using the MEGA software. RT-PCR analysis found fifty-one samples positive for ZIKV. Further analysis of the NS5 gene revealed that the ZIKV strains identified in Easter Island were most closely related to those found in French Polynesia (99.8 to 99.9% nt and 100% aa sequence identity). These results strongly suggest that the transmission pathway leading to the introduction of Zika virus on Easter Island has its origin in French Polynesia.