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Serological diagnosis of Zika virus (ZIKV) infections is challenging due to high cross-reactivity between flaviviruses. We evaluated the diagnostic performance of a novel anti-ZIKV ELISA based on recombinant ZIKV non-structural protein 1 (NS1). Assay sensitivity was examined using sera from 27 patients with reverse transcription (RT)-PCR-confirmed and 85 with suspected ZIKV infection. Specificity was analysed using sera from 1,015 healthy individuals. Samples from 252 patients with dengue virus (n = 93), West Nile virus (n = 34), Japanese encephalitis virus (n = 25), chikungunya virus (n = 19) or spp. (n = 69) infections and from 12 yellow fever-vaccinated individuals were also examined. In confirmed ZIKV specimens collected ≥ 6 days after symptom onset, ELISA sensitivity was 58.8% (95% confidence interval (CI): 36.0–78.4) for IgM, 88.2% (95% CI: 64.4–98.0) for IgG, and 100% (95% CI: 78.4–100) for IgM/IgG, at 99.8% (95% CI: 99.2–100) specificity. Cross-reactivity with high-level dengue virus antibodies was not detected. Among patients with potentially cross-reactive antibodies anti-ZIKV positive rates were 0.8% (95% CI: 0–3.0) and 0.4% (95% CI: 0–2.4) for IgM and IgG, respectively. Providing high specificity and low cross-reactivity, the NS1-based ELISA has the potential to aid in counselling patients, pregnant women and travellers after returning from ZIKV-endemic areas.


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