ResearchPad - rift-valley-fever https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Selected wetland soil properties correlate to Rift Valley fever livestock mortalities reported in 2009-10 in central South Africa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15754 Outbreaks of Rift Valley fever have devastating impacts on ruminants, humans, as well as on regional and national economies. Although numerous studies on the impact and outbreak of Rift Valley fever exist, relatively little is known about the role of environmental factors, especially soil, on the aestivation of the virus. This study thus selected 22 sites for study in central South Africa, known to be the recurrent epicenter of widespread Rift Valley fever outbreaks in Southern Africa. Soils were described, sampled and analyzed in detail at each site. Of all the soil variables analyzed for, only eight (cation exchange capacity, exchangeable Ca2+, exchangeable K+, exchangeable Mg2+, soluble Ca2+, medium sand, As, and Br) were statistically identified to be potential indicators of sites with reported Rift Valley fever mortalities, as reported for the 2009–2010 Rift Valley fever outbreak. Four soil characteristics (exchangeable K+, exchangeable Mg2+, medium sand, and Br) were subsequently included in a discriminant function that could potentially be used to predict sites that had reported Rift Valley fever-associated mortalities in livestock. This study therefore constitutes an initial attempt to predict sites prone to Rift Valley fever livestock mortality from soil properties and thus serves as a basis for broader research on the interaction between soil, mosquitoes and Rift Valley fever virus. Future research should include other environmental components such as vegetation, climate, and water properties as well as correlating soil properties with floodwater Aedes spp. abundance and Rift Valley fever virus prevalence.

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<![CDATA[Rift Valley Fever Outbreak, Mayotte, France, 2018–2019]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Na5a5ca10-6cec-449f-9962-33fc5c1c1b4e

From November 2018 through July 2019, an outbreak of Rift Valley fever in humans occurred in Mayotte, France; 142 cases were confirmed. Exposure to animals or their biological fluid was reported by 73% of patients. Health authorities have been implementing control measures, including veterinary surveys, vector control interventions, and prevention measures.

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<![CDATA[Individual-based network model for Rift Valley fever in Kabale District, Uganda]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823c9d5eed0c484638ffb

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a zoonotic disease, that causes significant morbidity and mortality among ungulate livestock and humans in endemic regions. In East Africa, the causative agent of the disease is Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) which is primarily transmitted by multiple mosquito species in Aedes and Mansonia genera during both epizootic and enzootic periods in a complex transmission cycle largely driven by environmental and climatic factors. However, recent RVFV activity in Uganda demonstrated the capability of the virus to spread into new regions through livestock movements, and underscored the need to develop effective mitigation strategies to reduce transmission and prevent spread among cattle populations. We simulated RVFV transmission among cows in 22 different locations of the Kabale District in Uganda using real world livestock data in a network-based model. This model considered livestock as a spatially explicit factor in different locations subjected to specific vector and environmental factors, and was configured to investigate and quantitatively evaluate the relative impacts of mosquito control, livestock movement, and diversity in cattle populations on the spread of the RVF epizootic. We concluded that cattle movement should be restricted for periods of high mosquito abundance to control epizootic spreading among locations during an RVF outbreak. Importantly, simulation results also showed that cattle populations with heterogeneous genetic diversity as crossbreeds were less susceptible to infection compared to homogenous cattle populations.

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<![CDATA[Vector competence of biting midges and mosquitoes for Shuni virus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75dfd5eed0c4843d037a

Background

Shuni virus (SHUV) is an orthobunyavirus that belongs to the Simbu serogroup. SHUV was isolated from diverse species of domesticated animals and wildlife, and is associated with neurological disease, abortions, and congenital malformations. Recently, SHUV caused outbreaks among ruminants in Israel, representing the first incursions outside the African continent. The isolation of SHUV from a febrile child in Nigeria and seroprevalence among veterinarians in South Africa suggests that the virus may have zoonotic potential as well. The high pathogenicity, extremely broad tropism, potential transmission via both biting midges and mosquitoes, and zoonotic features of SHUV require further investigation. This is important to accurately determine the risk for animal and human health, and to facilitate preparations for potential epidemics. To gain first insight into the potential involvement of biting midges and mosquitoes in SHUV transmission we have investigated the ability of SHUV to infect two species of laboratory-colonised biting midges and two species of mosquitoes.

Methodology/Principal findings

Culicoides nubeculosus, C. sonorensis, Culex pipiens pipiens, and Aedes aegypti were orally exposed to SHUV by providing an infectious blood meal. Biting midges showed high infection rates of approximately 40%-60%, whereas infection rates of mosquitoes were only 0–2%. Moreover, successful dissemination in both species of biting midges and no evidence for transmission by orally exposed mosquitoes was found.

Conclusions/Significance

The results of this study suggest that different species of Culicoides midges are efficient in SHUV transmission, while the involvement of mosquitoes has not been supported.

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<![CDATA[Rift Valley fever: An open-source transmission dynamics simulation model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa566d5eed0c484ca3e15

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is one of the major viral zoonoses in Africa, affecting humans and several domestic animal species. The epidemics in eastern Africa occur in a 5-15 year cycle coinciding with abnormally high rainfall generally associated to the warm phase of the El Niño event. However, recently, evidence has been gathered of inter-epidemic transmission. An open-source, easily applicable, accessible and modifiable model was built to simulate the transmission dynamics of RVF. The model was calibrated using data collected in the Kilombero Valley in Tanzania with people and cattle as host species and Ædes mcintoshi, Æ. ægypti and two Culex species as vectors. Simulations were run over a period of 27 years using standard parameter values derived from two previous studies in this region. Our model predicts low-level transmission of RVF, which is in line with epidemiological studies in this area. Emphasis in our simulation was put on both the dynamics and composition of vector populations in three ecological zones, in order to elucidate the respective roles played by different vector species: the model output did indicate the necessity of Culex involvement and also indicated that vertical transmission in Ædes mcintoshi may be underestimated. This model, being built with open-source software and with an easy-to-use interface, can be adapted by researchers and control program managers to their specific needs by plugging in new parameters relevant to their situation and locality.

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<![CDATA[Study on causes of fever in primary healthcare center uncovers pathogens of public health concern in Madagascar]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b60074e463d7e39c5526201

Background

The increasing use of malaria diagnostic tests reveals a growing proportion of patients with fever but no malaria. Clinicians and health care workers in low-income countries have few tests to diagnose causes of fever other than malaria although several diseases share common symptoms. We propose here to assess etiologies of fever in Madagascar to ultimately improve management of febrile cases.

Methodology

Consenting febrile outpatients aged 6 months and older were recruited in 21 selected sentinel sites throughout Madagascar from April 2014 to September 2015. Standard clinical examinations were performed, and blood and upper respiratory specimens were taken for rapid diagnostic tests and molecular assays for 36 pathogens of interest for Madagascar in terms of public health, regardless of clinical status.

Principal findings

A total of 682 febrile patients were enrolled. We detected at least one pathogen in 40.5% (276/682) of patients and 6.2% (42/682) with co-infections. Among all tested patients, 26.5% (181/682) had at least one viral infection, 17.0% (116/682) had malaria and 1.0% (7/682) presented a bacterial or a mycobacterial infection. None or very few of the highly prevalent infectious agents in Eastern Africa and Asia were detected in this study, such as zoonotic bacteria or arboviral infections.

Conclusions

These results raise questions about etiologies of fever in Malagasy communities. Nevertheless, we noted that viral infections and malaria still represent a significant proportion of causes of febrile illnesses. Interestingly our study allowed the detection of pathogens of public health interest such as Rift Valley Fever Virus but also the first case of laboratory-confirmed leptospirosis infection in Madagascar.

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<![CDATA[Attenuation and efficacy of live-attenuated Rift Valley fever virus vaccine candidates in non-human primates]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5afd6995463d7e7322194032

Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is an important mosquito-borne veterinary and human pathogen that has caused large outbreaks of severe disease throughout Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Currently, no licensed vaccine or therapeutics exists to treat this potentially deadly disease. The explosive nature of RVFV outbreaks and the severe consequences of its accidental or intentional introduction into RVFV-free areas provide the impetus for the development of novel vaccine candidates for use in both livestock and humans. Rationally designed vaccine candidates using reverse genetics have been used to develop deletion mutants of two known RVFV virulence factors, the NSs and NSm genes. These recombinant viruses were demonstrated to be protective and immunogenic in rats, mice, and sheep, without producing clinical illness in these animals. Here, we expand upon those findings and evaluate the single deletion mutant (ΔNSs rRVFV) and double deletion mutant (ΔNSs-ΔNSm rRVFV) vaccine candidates in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), a non-human primate (NHP) model resembling severe human RVF disease. We demonstrate that both the ΔNSs and ΔNSs-ΔNSm rRVFV vaccine candidates were found to be safe and immunogenic in the current study. The vaccinated animals received a single dose of vaccine that led to the development of a robust antibody response. No vaccine-induced adverse reactions, signs of clinical illness or infectious virus were detected in the vaccinated marmosets. All vaccinated animals that were subsequently challenged with RVFV were protected against viremia and liver disease. In summary, our results provide the basis for further development of the ΔNSs and ΔNSs-ΔNSm rRVFV as safe and effective human RVFV vaccines for this significant public health threat.

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<![CDATA[Combining Hydrology and Mosquito Population Models to Identify the Drivers of Rift Valley Fever Emergence in Semi-Arid Regions of West Africa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da9eab0ee8fa60ba4ee1

Background

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a vector-borne viral zoonosis of increasing global importance. RVF virus (RVFV) is transmitted either through exposure to infected animals or through bites from different species of infected mosquitoes, mainly of Aedes and Culex genera. These mosquitoes are very sensitive to environmental conditions, which may determine their presence, biology, and abundance. In East Africa, RVF outbreaks are known to be closely associated with heavy rainfall events, unlike in the semi-arid regions of West Africa where the drivers of RVF emergence remain poorly understood. The assumed importance of temporary ponds and rainfall temporal distribution therefore needs to be investigated.

Methodology/Principal Findings

A hydrological model is combined with a mosquito population model to predict the abundance of the two main mosquito species (Aedes vexans and Culex poicilipes) involved in RVFV transmission in Senegal. The study area is an agropastoral zone located in the Ferlo Valley, characterized by a dense network of temporary water ponds which constitute mosquito breeding sites.

The hydrological model uses daily rainfall as input to simulate variations of pond surface areas. The mosquito population model is mechanistic, considers both aquatic and adult stages and is driven by pond dynamics. Once validated using hydrological and entomological field data, the model was used to simulate the abundance dynamics of the two mosquito species over a 43-year period (1961–2003). We analysed the predicted dynamics of mosquito populations with regards to the years of main outbreaks. The results showed that the main RVF outbreaks occurred during years with simultaneous high abundances of both species.

Conclusion/Significance

Our study provides for the first time a mechanistic insight on RVFV transmission in West Africa. It highlights the complementary roles of Aedes vexans and Culex poicilipes mosquitoes in virus transmission, and recommends the identification of rainfall patterns favourable for RVFV amplification.

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<![CDATA[The One Health approach to identify knowledge, attitudes and practices that affect community involvement in the control of Rift Valley fever outbreaks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcf2c

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a viral mosquito-borne disease with the potential for global expansion, causes hemorrhagic fever, and has a high case fatality rate in young animals and in humans.

Using a cross-sectional community-based study design, we investigated the knowledge, attitudes and practices of people living in small village in Sudan with respect to RVF outbreaks. A special One Health questionnaire was developed to compile data from 235 heads of household concerning their knowledge, attitudes, and practices with regard to controlling RVF. Although the 2007 RVF outbreak in Sudan had negatively affected the participants’ food availability and livestock income, the participants did not fully understand how to identify RVF symptoms and risk factors for both humans and livestock. For example, the participants mistakenly believed that avoiding livestock that had suffered spontaneous abortions was the least important risk factor for RVF. Although the majority noticed an increase in mosquito population during the 2007 RVF outbreak, few used impregnated bed nets as preventive measures. The community was reluctant to notify the authorities about RVF suspicion in livestock, a sentinel for human RVF infection. Almost all the respondents stressed that they would not receive any compensation for their dead livestock if they notified the authorities. In addition, the participants believed that controlling RVF outbreaks was mainly the responsibility of human health authorities rather than veterinary authorities. The majority of the participants were aware that RVF could spread from one region to another within the country. Participants received most their information about RVF from social networks and the mass media, rather than the health system or veterinarians. Because the perceived role of the community in controlling RVF was fragmented, the probability of RVF spread increased.

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<![CDATA[A Spatially Explicit Metapopulation Model and Cattle Trade Analysis Suggests Key Determinants for the Recurrent Circulation of Rift Valley Fever Virus in a Pilot Area of Madagascar Highlands]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daedab0ee8fa60bbfc27

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a vector-borne zoonotic disease that causes high morbidity and mortality in ruminants. In 2008–2009, a RVF outbreak affected the whole Madagascar island, including the Anjozorobe district located in Madagascar highlands. An entomological survey showed the absence of Aedes among the potential RVF virus (RVFV) vector species identified in this area, and an overall low abundance of mosquitoes due to unfavorable climatic conditions during winter. No serological nor virological sign of infection was observed in wild terrestrial mammals of the area, suggesting an absence of wild RVF virus (RVFV) reservoir. However, a three years serological and virological follow-up in cattle showed a recurrent RVFV circulation. The objective of this study was to understand the key determinants of this unexpected recurrent transmission. To achieve this goal, a spatial deterministic discrete-time metapopulation model combined with cattle trade network was designed and parameterized to reproduce the local conditions using observational data collected in the area. Three scenarios that could explain the RVFV recurrent circulation in the area were analyzed: (i) RVFV overwintering thanks to a direct transmission between cattle when viraemic cows calve, vectors being absent during the winter, (ii) a low level vector-based circulation during winter thanks to a residual vector population, without direct transmission between cattle, (iii) combination of both above mentioned mechanisms. Multi-model inference methods resulted in a model incorporating both a low level RVFV winter vector-borne transmission and a direct transmission between animals when viraemic cows calve. Predictions satisfactorily reproduced field observations, 84% of cattle infections being attributed to vector-borne transmission, and 16% to direct transmission. These results appeared robust according to the sensitivity analysis. Interweaving between agricultural works in rice fields, seasonality of vector proliferation, and cattle exchange practices could be a key element for understanding RVFV circulation in this area of Madagascar highlands.

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<![CDATA[Type I Interferon Reaction to Viral Infection in Interferon-Competent, Immortalized Cell Lines from the African Fruit Bat Eidolon helvum]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daefab0ee8fa60bc084b

Bats harbor several highly pathogenic zoonotic viruses including Rabies, Marburg, and henipaviruses, without overt clinical symptoms in the animals. It has been suspected that bats might have evolved particularly effective mechanisms to suppress viral replication. Here, we investigated interferon (IFN) response, -induction, -secretion and -signaling in epithelial-like cells of the relevant and abundant African fruit bat species, Eidolon helvum (E. helvum). Immortalized cell lines were generated; their potential to induce and react on IFN was confirmed, and biological assays were adapted to application in bat cell cultures, enabling comparison of landmark IFN properties with that of common mammalian cell lines. E. helvum cells were fully capable of reacting to viral and artificial IFN stimuli. E. helvum cells showed highest IFN mRNA induction, highly productive IFN protein secretion, and evidence of efficient IFN stimulated gene induction. In an Alphavirus infection model, O'nyong-nyong virus exhibited strong IFN induction but evaded the IFN response by translational rather than transcriptional shutoff, similar to other Alphavirus infections. These novel IFN-competent cell lines will allow comparative research on zoonotic, bat-borne viruses in order to model mechanisms of viral maintenance and emergence in bat reservoirs.

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<![CDATA[Rift Valley Fever Virus Infection of Human Cells and Insect Hosts Is Promoted by Protein Kinase C Epsilon]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da6dab0ee8fa60b93b79

As an arthropod-borne human pathogen, Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) cycles between an insect vector and mammalian hosts. Little is known about the cellular requirements for infection in either host. Here we developed a tissue culture model for RVFV infection of human and insect cells that is amenable to high-throughput screening. Using this approach we screened a library of 1280 small molecules with pharmacologically defined activities and identified 59 drugs that inhibited RVFV infection with 15 inhibiting RVFV replication in both human and insect cells. Amongst the 15 inhibitors that blocked infection in both hosts was a subset that inhibits protein kinase C. Further studies found that infection is dependent upon the novel protein kinase C isozyme epsilon (PKCε) in both human and insect cells as well as in adult flies. Altogether, these data show that inhibition of cellular factors required for early steps in the infection cycle including PKCε can block RVFV infection, and may represent a starting point for the development of anti-RVFV therapeutics.

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<![CDATA[siRNA Screen Identifies Trafficking Host Factors that Modulate Alphavirus Infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da74ab0ee8fa60b9624a

Little is known about the repertoire of cellular factors involved in the replication of pathogenic alphaviruses. To uncover molecular regulators of alphavirus infection, and to identify candidate drug targets, we performed a high-content imaging-based siRNA screen. We revealed an actin-remodeling pathway involving Rac1, PIP5K1- α, and Arp3, as essential for infection by pathogenic alphaviruses. Infection causes cellular actin rearrangements into large bundles of actin filaments termed actin foci. Actin foci are generated late in infection concomitantly with alphavirus envelope (E2) expression and are dependent on the activities of Rac1 and Arp3. E2 associates with actin in alphavirus-infected cells and co-localizes with Rac1–PIP5K1-α along actin filaments in the context of actin foci. Finally, Rac1, Arp3, and actin polymerization inhibitors interfere with E2 trafficking from the trans-Golgi network to the cell surface, suggesting a plausible model in which transport of E2 to the cell surface is mediated via Rac1- and Arp3-dependent actin remodeling.

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<![CDATA[Development and Assessment of a Geographic Knowledge-Based Model for Mapping Suitable Areas for Rift Valley Fever Transmission in Eastern Africa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f7ab0ee8fa60b7099a

Rift Valley fever (RVF), a mosquito-borne disease affecting ruminants and humans, is one of the most important viral zoonoses in Africa. The objective of the present study was to develop a geographic knowledge-based method to map the areas suitable for RVF amplification and RVF spread in four East African countries, namely, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia, and to assess the predictive accuracy of the model using livestock outbreak data from Kenya and Tanzania. Risk factors and their relative importance regarding RVF amplification and spread were identified from a literature review. A numerical weight was calculated for each risk factor using an analytical hierarchy process. The corresponding geographic data were collected, standardized and combined based on a weighted linear combination to produce maps of the suitability for RVF transmission. The accuracy of the resulting maps was assessed using RVF outbreak locations in livestock reported in Kenya and Tanzania between 1998 and 2012 and the ROC curve analysis. Our results confirmed the capacity of the geographic information system-based multi-criteria evaluation method to synthesize available scientific knowledge and to accurately map (AUC = 0.786; 95% CI [0.730–0.842]) the spatial heterogeneity of RVF suitability in East Africa. This approach provides users with a straightforward and easy update of the maps according to data availability or the further development of scientific knowledge.

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<![CDATA[Serological Evidence of Contrasted Exposure to Arboviral Infections between Islands of the Union of Comoros (Indian Ocean)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db03ab0ee8fa60bc74ed

A cross sectional serological survey of arboviral infections in humans was conducted on the three islands of the Union of Comoros, Indian Ocean, in order to test a previously suggested contrasted exposure of the three neighboring islands to arthropod-borne epidemics. Four hundred human sera were collected on Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mwali (Mohéli) and Ndzouani (Anjouan), and were tested by ELISA for IgM and/or IgG antibodies to Dengue (DENV), Chikungunya (CHIKV), Rift Valley fever (RVFV), West Nile (WNV), Tick borne encephalitis (TBEV) and Yellow fever (YFV) viruses and for neutralizing antibodies to DENV serotypes 1–4. Very few sera were positive for IgM antibodies to the tested viruses indicating that the sero-survey was performed during an inter epidemic phase for the investigated arbovirus infections, except for RVF which showed evidence of recent infections on all three islands. IgG reactivity with at least one arbovirus was observed in almost 85% of tested sera, with seropositivity rates increasing with age, indicative of an intense and long lasting exposure of the Comorian population to arboviral risk. Interestingly, the positivity rates for IgG antibodies to DENV and CHIKV were significantly higher on Ngazidja, confirming the previously suggested prominent exposure of this island to these arboviruses, while serological traces of WNV infection were detected most frequently on Mwali suggesting some transmission specificities associated with this island only. The study provides the first evidence for circulation of RVFV in human populations from the Union of Comoros and further suggests that the virus is currently circulating on the three islands in an inconspicuous manner. This study supports contrasted exposure of the islands of the Comoros archipelago to arboviral infections. The observation is discussed in terms of ecological factors that may affect the abundance and distribution of vector populations on the three islands as well as concurring anthropogenic factors that may impact arbovirus transmission in this diverse island ecosystem.

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<![CDATA[Development and evaluation of a bioinformatics approach for designing molecular assays for viral detection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be0063

Background

Viruses belonging to the Flaviviridae and Bunyaviridae families show considerable genetic diversity. However, this diversity is not necessarily taken into account when developing diagnostic assays, which are often based on the pairwise alignment of a limited number of sequences. Our objective was to develop and evaluate a bioinformatics workflow addressing two recurrent issues of molecular assay design: (i) the high intraspecies genetic diversity in viruses and (ii) the potential for cross-reactivity with close relatives.

Methodology

The workflow developed herein was based on two consecutive BLASTn steps; the first was utilized to select highly conserved regions among the viral taxon of interest, and the second was employed to assess the degree of similarity of these highly-conserved regions to close relatives. Subsequently, the workflow was tested on a set of eight viral species, including various strains from the Flaviviridae and Bunyaviridae families.

Principal findings

The genetic diversity ranges from as low as 0.45% variable sites over the complete genome of the Japanese encephalitis virus to more than 16% of variable sites on segment L of the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus. Our proposed bioinformatics workflow allowed the selection—based on computing scores—of the best target for a diagnostic molecular assay for the eight viral species investigated.

Conclusions/Significance

Our bioinformatics workflow allowed rapid selection of highly conserved and specific genomic fragments among the investigated viruses, while considering up to several hundred complete genomic sequences. The pertinence of this workflow will increase in parallel to the number of sequences made publicly available. We hypothesize that our workflow might be utilized to select diagnostic molecular markers for higher organisms with more complex genomes, provided the sequences are made available.

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<![CDATA[Spatial Heterogeneity of Habitat Suitability for Rift Valley Fever Occurrence in Tanzania: An Ecological Niche Modelling Approach]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf5ab0ee8fa60bc2a31

Background

Despite the long history of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Tanzania, extent of its suitable habitat in the country remains unclear. In this study we investigated potential effects of temperature, precipitation, elevation, soil type, livestock density, rainfall pattern, proximity to wild animals, protected areas and forest on the habitat suitability for RVF occurrence in Tanzania.

Materials and Methods

Presence-only records of 193 RVF outbreak locations from 1930 to 2007 together with potential predictor variables were used to model and map the suitable habitats for RVF occurrence using ecological niche modelling. Ground-truthing of the model outputs was conducted by comparing the levels of RVF virus specific antibodies in cattle, sheep and goats sampled from locations in Tanzania that presented different predicted habitat suitability values.

Principal Findings

Habitat suitability values for RVF occurrence were higher in the northern and central-eastern regions of Tanzania than the rest of the regions in the country. Soil type and precipitation of the wettest quarter contributed equally to habitat suitability (32.4% each), followed by livestock density (25.9%) and rainfall pattern (9.3%). Ground-truthing of model outputs revealed that the odds of an animal being seropositive for RVFV when sampled from areas predicted to be most suitable for RVF occurrence were twice the odds of an animal sampled from areas least suitable for RVF occurrence (95% CI: 1.43, 2.76, p < 0.001).

Conclusion/Significance

The regions in the northern and central-eastern Tanzania were more suitable for RVF occurrence than the rest of the regions in the country. The modelled suitable habitat is characterised by impermeable soils, moderate precipitation in the wettest quarter, high livestock density and a bimodal rainfall pattern. The findings of this study should provide guidance for the design of appropriate RVF surveillance, prevention and control strategies which target areas with these characteristics.

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<![CDATA[Predictive Factors and Risk Mapping for Rift Valley Fever Epidemics in Kenya]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db00ab0ee8fa60bc6856

Background

To-date, Rift Valley fever (RVF) outbreaks have occurred in 38 of the 69 administrative districts in Kenya. Using surveillance records collected between 1951 and 2007, we determined the risk of exposure and outcome of an RVF outbreak, examined the ecological and climatic factors associated with the outbreaks, and used these data to develop an RVF risk map for Kenya.

Methods

Exposure to RVF was evaluated as the proportion of the total outbreak years that each district was involved in prior epizootics, whereas risk of outcome was assessed as severity of observed disease in humans and animals for each district. A probability-impact weighted score (1 to 9) of the combined exposure and outcome risks was used to classify a district as high (score ≥ 5) or medium (score ≥2 - <5) risk, a classification that was subsequently subjected to expert group analysis for final risk level determination at the division levels (total = 391 divisions). Divisions that never reported RVF disease (score < 2) were classified as low risk. Using data from the 2006/07 RVF outbreak, the predictive risk factors for an RVF outbreak were identified. The predictive probabilities from the model were further used to develop an RVF risk map for Kenya.

Results

The final output was a RVF risk map that classified 101 of 391 divisions (26%) located in 21 districts as high risk, and 100 of 391 divisions (26%) located in 35 districts as medium risk and 190 divisions (48%) as low risk, including all 97 divisions in Nyanza and Western provinces. The risk of RVF was positively associated with Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), low altitude below 1000m and high precipitation in areas with solonertz, luvisols and vertisols soil types (p <0.05).

Conclusion

RVF risk map serves as an important tool for developing and deploying prevention and control measures against the disease.

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<![CDATA[The 2007 Rift Valley Fever Outbreak in Sudan]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4eab0ee8fa60bdb417

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a neglected, emerging, mosquito-borne disease with severe negative impact on human and animal health and economy. RVF is caused by RVF virus (RVFV) affecting humans and a wide range of animals. The virus is transmitted through bites from mosquitoes and exposure to viremic blood, body fluids, or tissues of infected animals. During 2007 a large RVF outbreak occurred in Sudan with a total of 747 confirmed human cases including 230 deaths (case fatality 30.8%); although it has been estimated 75,000 were infected. It was most severe in White Nile, El Gezira, and Sennar states near to the White Nile and the Blue Nile Rivers. Notably, RVF was not demonstrated in livestock until after the human cases appeared and unfortunately, there are no records or reports of the number of affected animals or deaths. Ideally, animals should serve as sentinels to prevent loss of human life, but the situation here was reversed. Animal contact seemed to be the most dominant risk factor followed by animal products and mosquito bites. The Sudan outbreak followed an unusually heavy rainfall in the country with severe flooding and previous studies on RVF in Sudan suggest that RVFV is endemic in parts of Sudan. An RVF outbreak results in human disease, but also large economic loss with an impact beyond the immediate influence on the directly affected agricultural producers. The outbreak emphasizes the need for collaboration between veterinary and health authorities, entomologists, environmental specialists, and biologists, as the best strategy towards the prevention and control of RVF.

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<![CDATA[The Epidemiology of Rift Valley Fever in Mayotte: Insights and Perspectives from 11 Years of Data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d2ab0ee8fa60b64703

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a zoonotic arboviral disease that is a threat to human health, animal health and production, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa. RVF virus dynamics have been poorly studied due to data scarcity. On the island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean, off the Southeastern African coast, RVF has been present since at least 2004. Several retrospective and prospective serological surveys in livestock have been conducted over eleven years (2004–15). These data are collated and presented here. Temporal patterns of seroprevalence were plotted against time, as well as age-stratified seroprevalence. Results suggest that RVF was already present in 2004–07. An epidemic occurred between 2008 and 2010, with IgG and IgM peak annual prevalences of 36% in 2008–09 (N = 142, n = 51, 95% CI [17–55]) and 41% (N = 96, n = 39, 95% CI [25–56]), respectively. The virus seems to be circulating at a low level since 2011, causing few new infections. In 2015, about 95% of the livestock population was susceptible (IgG annual prevalence was 6% (N = 584, n = 29, 95% CI [3–10])). Monthly rainfall varied a lot (2–540mm), whilst average temperature remained high with little variation (about 25–30°C). This large dataset collected on an insular territory for more than 10 years, suggesting a past epidemic and a current inter-epidemic period, represents a unique opportunity to study RVF dynamics. Further data collection and modelling work may be used to test different scenarios of animal imports and rainfall pattern that could explain the observed epidemiological pattern and estimate the likelihood of a potential re-emergence.

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