Original Research

Rift Valley fever virus in small ruminants in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Georges M. Tshilenge, Mfumu L.K Mulumba, Gerald Misinzo, Rob Noad, William G. Dundon
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 86, No 1 | a1737 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v86i1.1737 | © 2019 Georges M. Tshilenge, Mfumu L.K Mulumba, Gerald Misinzo, Rob Noad, William G. Dundon | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 07 February 2019 | Published: 10 October 2019

About the author(s)

Georges M. Tshilenge, Department of Preclinical Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Kinshasa, Kinshasa XI, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the
Mfumu L.K Mulumba, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Kinshasa, Kinshasa XI, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the
Gerald Misinzo, Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania, United Republic of
Rob Noad, Department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
William G. Dundon, Animal Production and Health Laboratory, Joint Food and Agriculture Orginazation/International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria; and, Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria


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Abstract

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a zoonotic viral disease caused by the RVF phlebovirus (RVFV) that infects a variety of animal species including sheep and goats. Sera (n = 893) collected between 2013 and 2015 from randomly selected indigenous sheep and goats in seven provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) were tested for the presence of specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) and M (IgM) against RVFV, using two commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was also used to detect RVFV nucleic acid. There was significant variation in true seroprevalence of RVFV for both sheep and goats between the seven provinces investigated. Values ranged from 0.0 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.0–6.55) to 23.81 (95% CI 12.03–41.76) for goat and 0.0 (95% CI 0.0–7.56) to 37.11 (95% CI 15.48–65.94) for sheep, respectively. One serum (1.85%) out of 54 that tested positive for IgG was found to be IgM-positive. This same sample was also positive by RT-PCR indicating an active or recent infection. These findings report the presence of RVFV in small ruminants in the DRC for the first time and indicate variations in exposure to the virus in different parts of the country.

Keywords

Rift Valley fever; ruminants; serology; Democratic Republic of the Congo; prevalence

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