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Title: Rift valley fever virus seroprevalence in human rural populations of Gabon
Authors: Xavier Pourrut
Dieudonné Nkoghé
Marc Souris
Christophe Paupy
Janusz Paweska
Cindy Padilla
Ghislain Moussavou
Eric M. Leroy
Emergence des Pathologies Virales
Centre International de Recherches Medicales de Franceville
Mahidol University
IRD Centre de Montpellier
National Institute for Communicable Diseases
Keywords: Medicine
Issue Date: 1-Jul-2010
Citation: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Vol.4, No.7 (2010)
Abstract: Background: Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a mosquito-borne viral zoonosis caused by a phlebovirus and transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. Humans can also be infected through direct contact with blood (aerosols) or tissues (placenta, stillborn) of infected animals. Although severe clinical cases can be observed, infection with RVF virus (RVFV) in humans is, in most cases, asymptomatic or causes a febrile illness without serious symptoms. In small ruminants RVFV mainly causes abortion and neonatal death. The distribution of RVFV has been well documented in many African countries, particularly in the north (Egypt, Sudan), east (Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia), west (Senegal, Mauritania) and south (South Africa), but also in the Indian Ocean (Madagascar, Mayotte) and the Arabian Peninsula. In contrast, the prevalence of RVFV has rarely been investigated in central African countries. Methodology/Principal Findings: We therefore conducted a large serological survey of rural populations in Gabon, involving 4,323 individuals from 212 randomly selected villages (10.3% of all Gabonese villages). RVFV-specific IgG was found in a total of 145 individuals (3.3%) suggesting the wide circulation of Rift Valley fever virus in Gabon. The seroprevalence was significantly higher in the lakes region than in forest and savannas zones, with respective rates of 8.3%, 2.9% and 2.2%. In the lakes region, RVFV-specific IgG was significantly more prevalent in males than in females (respectively 12.8% and 3.8%) and the seroprevalence increased gradually with age in males but not in females. Conclusions/Significance: Although RVFV was suggested to circulate at a relatively high level in Gabon, no outbreaks or even isolated cases have been documented in the country. The higher prevalence in the lakes region is likely to be driven by specific ecologic conditions favorable to certain mosquito vector species. Males may be more at risk of infection than females because they spend more time farming and hunting outside the villages, where they may be more exposed to mosquito bites and infected animals. Further investigations are needed to determine the putative sylvan cycle of RVFV, including the mosquito species and the reservoir role of wild animals in the viral maintenance cycle. © 2010 Pourrut et al.
Appears in Collections:Scopus 2006-2010

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