Serological diagnosis of Zika virus is challenging due to high cross-reactivity of Zika virus with other flavivirus antibodies. Recently, a Zika NS1-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed and shown to be highly specific for Zika antibody detection; however, sensitivity was evaluated for only a small number of confirmed Zika-infected patients. In this study, we measured the sensitivity and kinetics of Zika IgM and IgG antibodies using the Zika NS1-based ELISA in 105 samples from 63 returning travelers infected with Zika virus (proven by PCR or neutralization assay) from Israel, Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium, Germany, and Chile. Zika virus IgM was detected from 2 to 42 days post-symptom onset (PSO) with an overall sensitivity of 79% in the first month and 68% until 2 months PSO, while IgG antibodies were detected from 5 days to 3 years PSO with 79% sensitivity. Interestingly, significant differences in IgM sensitivity and IgM detection period were observed between Israeli and European/Chilean Zika-infected travelers, adding to the complexity of Zika infection diagnosis and suggesting that other diagnostic methods should be complemented to reduce false-negative results.
- Journal Article