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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2018 Sep;99(3):780-782. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.18-0237. Epub 2018 Jun 21.

Zika Virus and the World Health Organization Criteria for Determining Recent Infection Using Plaque Reduction Neutralization Testing.

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Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Instituto de Enfermedades Infecciosas y Parasitología Antonio Vidal (IAV), Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Departamento de Laboratorio Clínico, Hospital Escuela Universitario, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Instituto de Efectividad Clínica y Sanitaria (IECS), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Región Sanitaria Metropolitana del Distrito Central, Secretaría de Salud de Honduras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Instituto de Investigaciones en Microbiología, Centro de Investigaciones Genéticas (CIG), Escuela de Microbiología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.


The recent Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic swept across Latin America and the Caribbean, where dengue virus (DENV) is endemic. The antigenic similarities of these closely related flaviviruses left researchers and clinicians with challenges to interpret serological tests. Thirty-six women attending a prenatal clinic in Honduras and with positive DENV IgM enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assays (ELISAs) were screened with a ZIKV immunoglobulin M ELISA, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for ZIKV and DENV 1-4, and plaque reduction neutralization tests (PRNTs) for ZIKV and DENV-2. Plaque reduction neutralization test results were interpreted using the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria. Using the WHO criteria of a PRNT90 titer ≥ 20 and a 4-fold difference between ZIKV and DENV titers, we determined that 69.4% of samples had a recent ZIKV infection, compared with 5.6% using CDC criteria. The interpretation of ZIKV PRNTs in a DENV-endemic region is highly dependent on the choice of interpretation criteria.

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