São Paulo (SP), a densely populated state in southeast Brazil that contains one of the world´s largest urban regions, has experienced its largest yellow fever virus (YFV) outbreak in decades. Surveillance in non-human primates (NHP) is important in order to detect YFV early during an epidemic or epizootic, to quantify the magnitude of the outbreak in NHP, and to evaluate the risk of YFV spillover infection in human populations. To better understand the genetic diversity and spatial distribution of YFV during the current outbreak in southeast Brazil, we generated 46 new virus genomes from YFV positive cases identified in 18 different municipalities in SP, mostly sampled from non-human primates between April 2017 and February 2018. Our data show that most NHP cases in São Paulo state were likely caused by the introduction of a single YFV lineage from Minas Gerais to São Paulo. Phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses of these data indicate that YFV spread southwards from Minas Gerais into São Paulo state at a typical rate of <1km per day. These results shed light in the sylvatic transmission of yellow fever in highly fragmented forested regions in São Paulo state and highlight the importance of continued operational research and surveillance of zoonotic pathogens in sentinel populations.
File Type: abstract