Inter-epidemic Transmission of Rift Valley Fever in Livestock in the Kilombero River Valley, Tanzania: A Cross-Sectional Survey
Published Date:Aug 2013
Source:PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013; 7(8).
In recent years, evidence of Rift Valley fever (RVF) transmission during inter-epidemic periods in parts of Africa has increasingly been reported. The inter-epidemic transmissions generally pass undetected where there is no surveillance in the livestock or human populations. We studied the presence of and the determinants for inter-epidemic RVF transmission in an area experiencing annual flooding in southern Tanzania.
A cross-sectional sero-survey was conducted in randomly selected cattle, sheep and goats in the Kilombero river valley from May to August 2011, approximately four years after the 2006/07 RVF outbreak in Tanzania. The exposure status to RVF virus (RVFV) was determined using two commercial ELISA kits, detecting IgM and IgG antibodies in serum. Information about determinants was obtained through structured interviews with herd owners.
An overall seroprevalence of 11.3% (n = 1680) was recorded; 5.5% in animals born after the 2006/07 RVF outbreak and 22.7% in animals present during the outbreak. There was a linear increase in prevalence in the post-epidemic annual cohorts. Nine inhibition-ELISA positive samples were also positive for RVFV IgM antibodies indicating a recent infection. The spatial distribution of seroprevalence exhibited a few hotspots. The sex difference in seroprevalence in animals born after the previous epidemic was not significant (6.1% vs. 4.6% for females and males respectively, p = 0.158) whereas it was significant in animals present during the outbreak (26.0% vs. 7.8% for females and males respectively, p<0.001). Animals living >15 km from the flood plain were more likely to have antibodies than those living <5 km (OR 1.92; 95% CI 1.04–3.56). Species, breed, herd composition, grazing practices and altitude were not associated with seropositivity.
These findings indicate post-epidemic transmission of RVFV in the study area. The linear increase in seroprevalence in the post-epidemic annual cohorts implies a constant exposure and presence of active foci transmission preceding the survey.
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