[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is a mosquito-borne infection of livestock and human which causes a potentially severe disease. In 2008-2009, a RVF outbreak occurred in a temperate and mountainous area located on the highlands of Madagascar. A three-year cattle follow-up (2009-2011) was conducted in a pilot area of this highland. A seroprevalence rate of 28% was estimated in 2009 and a seroconversion rate of 7% in 2009-2010. A third cross-sectional survey showed a seroconversion rate of 14% in 2010-2011. In 2011 the longitudinal study suggested a RVFV circulation during the year. In this area where vectors density is low and cattle exchanges are linked to the virus local spread, we raise hypotheses that may explain the local persistence of the virus.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 12/2013; · 2.53 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a severe mosquito-borne disease that is caused by a Phlebovirus (Bunyaviridae) and affects domestic ruminants and humans. Recently, its distribution widened, threatening Europe. The probability of the introduction and large-scale spread of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) in Europe is low, but localized RVF outbreaks may occur in areas where populations of ruminants and potential vectors are present. In this study, we assumed the introduction of the virus into Italy and focused on the risk of vector-borne transmission of RVFV to three main European potential hosts (cattle, sheep and goats). Five main potential mosquito vectors belonging to the Culex and Aedes genera that are present in Italy were identified in a literature review. We first modelled the geographical distribution of these five species based on expert knowledge and using land cover as a proxy of mosquito presence. The mosquito distribution maps were compared with field mosquito collections from Italy to validate the model. Next, the risk of RVFV transmission was modelled using a multicriteria evaluation (MCE) approach, integrating expert knowledge and the results of a literature review on host sensitivity and vector competence, feeding behaviour and abundance. A sensitivity analysis was performed to assess the robustness of the results with respect to expert choices. The resulting maps include (i) five maps of the vector distribution, (ii) a map of suitable areas for vector-borne transmission of RVFV and (iii) a map of the risk of RVFV vector-borne transmission to sensitive hosts given a viral introduction. Good agreement was found between the modelled presence probability and the observed presence or absence of each vector species. The resulting RVF risk map highlighted strong spatial heterogeneity and could be used to target surveillance. In conclusion, the geographical information system (GIS)-based MCE served as a valuable framework and a flexible tool for mapping the areas at risk of a pathogen that is currently absent from a region.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever virus (Phlebovirus, Bunyaviridae) is an arbovirus causing intermittent epizootics and sporadic epidemics primarily in East Africa. Infection causes severe and often fatal illness in young sheep, goats and cattle. Domestic animals and humans can be contaminated by close contact with infectious tissues or through mosquito infectious bites. Rift Valley fever virus was historically restricted to sub-Saharan countries. The probability of Rift Valley fever emerging in virgin areas is likely to be increasing. Its geographical range has extended over the past years. As a recent example, autochthonous cases of Rift Valley fever were recorded in 2007--2008 in Mayotte in the Indian Ocean. It has been proposed that a single infected animal that enters a naive country is sufficient to initiate a major outbreak before Rift Valley fever virus would ever be detected. Unless vaccines are available and widely used to limit its expansion, Rift Valley fever will continue to be a critical issue for human and animal health in the region of the Indian Ocean.
Veterinary Research 09/2013; 44(1):78. · 3.43 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Dynamics of most of vector-borne diseases are strongly linked to global and local environmental changes. Landscape changes are indicators of human activities or natural processes that are likely to modify the ecology of the diseases. Here, a landscape approach developed at a local scale is proposed for extracting mosquito favourable biotopes, and for testing ecological parameters when identifying risk areas of Rift Valley fever (RVF) transmission. The study was carried out around Barkedji village, Ferlo region, Senegal. METHODS: In order to test whether pond characteristics may influence the density and the dispersal behaviour of RVF vectors, and thus the spatial variation in RVFV transmission, we used a very high spatial resolution remote sensing image (2.4 m resolution) provided by the Quickbird sensor to produce a detailed land-cover map of the study area. Based on knowledge of vector and disease ecology, seven landscape attributes were defined at the pond level and computed from the land-cover map. Then, the relationships between landscape attributes and RVF serologic incidence rates in small ruminants were analyzed through a beta-binomial regression. Finally, the best statistical model according to the Akaike Information Criterion corrected for small samples (AICC), was used to map areas at risk for RVF. RESULTS: Among the derived landscape variables, the vegetation density index (VDI) computed within a 500 m buffer around ponds was positively correlated with serologic incidence (p<0.001), suggesting that the risk of RVF transmission was higher in the vicinity of ponds surrounded by a dense vegetation cover. The final risk map of RVF transmission displays a heterogeneous spatial distribution, corroborating previous findings from the same area. CONCLUSIONS: Our results highlight the potential of very high spatial resolution remote sensing data for identifying environmental risk factors and mapping RVF risk areas at a local scale.
International Journal of Health Geographics 03/2013; 12(1):10. · 2.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The impact on human and horse health of West Nile fever (WNF) recently and dramatically increased in Europe and neighboring countries. Involving several mosquito and wild bird species, WNF epidemiology is complex. Despite the implementation of surveillance systems in several countries of concern, and due to a lack of knowledge, outbreak occurrence remains unpredictable. Statistical models may help identifying transmission risk factors. When spatialized, they provide tools to identify areas that are suitable for West Nile virus transmission. Mathematical models may be used to improve our understanding of epidemiological process involved, to evaluate the impact of environmental changes or test the efficiency of control measures. We propose a systematic literature review of publications aiming at modeling the processes involved in WNF transmission in the Mediterranean Basin. The relevance of the corresponding models as predictive tools for risk mapping, early warning and for the design of surveillance systems in a changing environment is analyzed.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 01/2013; 11(1):67-90. · 2.00 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Newcastle disease (ND) is one of the most lethal diseases of poultry worldwide. It is caused by an avian paramyxovirus 1 that has high genomic diversity. In the framework of an international surveillance program launched in 2007, several thousand samples from domestic and wild birds in Africa were collected and analyzed. ND viruses (NDV) were detected and isolated in apparently healthy fowls and wild birds. However, two thirds of the isolates collected in this study were classified as virulent strains of NDV based on the molecular analysis of the fusion protein and experimental in vivo challenges with two representative isolates. Phylogenetic analysis based on the F and HN genes showed that isolates recovered from poultry in Mali and Ethiopia form new groups, herein proposed as genotypes XIV and sub-genotype VIf with reference to the new nomenclature described by Diel's group. In Madagascar, the circulation of NDV strains of genotype XI, originally reported elsewhere, is also confirmed. Full genome sequencing of five African isolates was generated and an extensive phylogeny reconstruction was carried out based on the nucleotide sequences. The evolutionary distances between groups and the specific amino acid signatures of each cluster allowed us to refine the genotype nomenclature.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e76413. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Live animal trade is considered a major mode of introduction of viruses from enzootic foci into disease-free areas. Due to societal and behavioural changes, some wild animal species may nowadays be considered as pet species. The species diversity of animals involved in international trade is thus increasing. This could benefit pathogens that have a broad host range such as arboviruses. The objective of this study was to analyze the risk posed by live animal imports for the introduction, in the European Union (EU), of four arboviruses that affect human and horses: Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis and Japanese encephalitis. Importation data for a five-years period (2005-2009, extracted from the EU TRACES database), environmental data (used as a proxy for the presence of vectors) and horses and human population density data (impacting the occurrence of clinical cases) were combined to derive spatially explicit risk indicators for virus introduction and for the potential consequences of such introductions. Results showed the existence of hotspots where the introduction risk was the highest in Belgium, in the Netherlands and in the north of Italy. This risk was higher for Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE) than for the three other diseases. It was mainly attributed to exotic pet species such as rodents, reptiles or cage birds, imported in small-sized containments from a wide variety of geographic origins. The increasing species and origin diversity of these animals may have in the future a strong impact on the risk of introduction of arboviruses in the EU.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(7):e70000. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 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.
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.
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.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Swine influenza is responsible for one of the most prevalent disease affecting the swine industry worldwide. Epidemiological surveys rarely focus on remote areas, because traditional farming systems characterized by locally consumed production and low pig densities are considered as having little influence on the emergence, re-emergence, persistence or spread of swine influenza viruses. In addition, routine disease investigations in remote areas are often neglected due to logistic and economical constraints. A bank of swine sera collected in 2005 in the ethnic minorities households of Ha Giang province (Northern Vietnam) located adjacent to the Chinese border was analyzed to estimate the seroprevalence of swine influenza (SI) and to identify potential risk factors for infection. The results suggest that this specific agro-ecological system is free from SI and is not favourable to SI spread either through pig-to-pig transmission, or through poultry-to-pig transmission.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever is an acute, zoonotic viral disease of domestic ruminants, caused by a phlebovirus (Bunyaviridae family). A large outbreak occurred in Madagascar in 2008-2009. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the point prevalence of antibodies against Rift Valley Fever Virus (RVFV) in cattle in the Anjozorobe district, located in the wet and temperate highland region of Madagascar and yet heavily affected by the disease, and analyse environmental and trade factors potentially linked to RVFV transmission. A serological study was performed in 2009 in 894 bovines. For each bovine, the following variables were recorded: age, location of the night pen, minimum distance from the pen to the nearest water point and the forest, nearest water point type, and herd replacement practices. The serological data were analyzed using a generalized linear mixed model. The overall anti-RVFV IgG seroprevalence rate was 28% [CI95% 25-31]. Age was statistically linked to prevalence (p = 10(-4)), being consistent with a recurrent RVFV circulation. Distance from the night pen to the nearest water point was a protective factor (p = 5.10(-3)), which would be compatible with a substantial part of the virus transmission being carried out by nocturnal mosquito vectors. However, water point type did not influence the risk of infection: several mosquito species are probably involved. Cattle belonging to owners who purchase animals to renew the herd were significantly more likely to have seroconverted than others (p = 0.04): cattle trade may contribute to the introduction of the virus in this area. The minimum distance of the night pen to the forest was not linked to the prevalence. This is the first evidence of a recurrent transmission of RVFV in such an ecosystem that associates a wet, temperate climate, high altitude, paddy fields, and vicinity to a dense rain forest. Persistence mechanisms need to be further investigated.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Newcastle disease (ND) and avian influenza (AI) are issues of interest to avian producers in Madagascar. Newcastle disease virus (NDV) is the major constraint for village aviculture, and avian influenza viruses type A (AIAV) are known to circulate in bird flocks. This study aims at classifying smallholder poultry farms, according to the combination of risk factors potentially associated with NDV and AIAV transmission and to assess the level of infection for each farm class. Two study sites, Lake Alaotra and Grand Antananarivo, were chosen with respect to their differences in terms of agro-ecological features and poultry productions. A typology survey involving 526 farms was performed to identify possible risk factors for (i) within-village, and (ii) between-village virus transmission. A cross-sectional serological study was also carried out in 270 farms to assess sero-prevalences of NDV and AIAV for each farm class and the link between them and risk factor patterns. For within-village transmission, four classes of farms were identified in Grand Antananarivo and five in Lake Alaotra. For between-village virus transmission, four classes of farms were identified for each site. In both sites, NDV sero-prevalence was higher than for AIAV. There was no evidence of the presence of H5 or H7 subtypes of AIAV. Sero-prevalences were significantly higher in Lake Alaotra than in Grand Antananarivo for both viruses (OR=2.4, p=0.02 for NDV, and OR=9.6, p<0.0001 for AIAV). For within-village NDV transmission in Grand Antananarivo, backyard chicken farms (OR=3.6, p<0.001), and chicken farms with biosecurity awareness (OR=3.4, p<0.01) had greater odds of having antibodies against NDV than the others. For between-village virus transmission, farms with multiple external contacts, and farms using many small markets had greater odds of having antibodies against NDV than the others (OR=5.4, p<0.01). For AIAV, there were no differences in sero-prevalences among farm classes. In Lake Alaotra, the observed high density of palmipeds and widespread rice paddies were associated with high sero-prevalences for both viruses, and a homogeneous risk of virus transmission between the different farm classes. In Grand Antananarivo, farm visits by collectors or animal health workers, and farm contacts with several markets were identified as potential risk factors for NDV transmission. Further studies are needed to identify the circulating virus genotypes, model their transmission risk, and provide adapted control measures.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine 11/2011; 104(1-2):114-24. · 2.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epidemiological surveys of avian influenza infections rarely focus on backyard poultry systems in remote locations because areas with low levels of poultry production are considered to have little influence on the emergence, re-emergence, persistence or spread of avian influenza viruses. In addition, routine disease investigations in remote areas often are neglected due to the lower availability and relatively high cost of veterinary services there. A bank of avian sera collected in 2005 from ethnic minority households in Ha Giang province (Northern Vietnam), located on the Chinese border, was analysed to estimate the seroprevalence of avian influenza virus (AIV) during a H5N1 epidemic and to identify potential risk factors for infection. The results suggest that the chicken population had been exposed to AIV with a seroprevalence rate of 7.2% [1.45; 10.5]. The H5 and H9 subtypes were identified with a seroprevalence of 3.25% [2.39; 4.11] and 1.12% [0.61; 1.63], respectively. The number of inhabitants in a village and the distance to the main national road were the most influential risk factors of AIV infection, and high-risk clusters were located along the road leading to China. These two results suggest a virus spread through commercial poultry exchanges and a possible introduction of AIV from southern China. Remote areas and small-scale farms may play an under-estimated role in the spread and persistence of AIV.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current knowledge suggests that there is a low-level and recurrent circulation of West Nile virus (WNV) in Europe, with sporadic human and/or equines cases. However, recent events indicate that this picture is changing, raising the possibility that Europe could experience a modification in the virus' circulation patterns. We used an existing model of WNV circulation between Southern Europe and West Africa to estimate the sample size of equivalent West Nile surveillance systems, either passive (based upon horse populations and sentinel veterinarians) or active (sentinel horses, sentinel chickens, or WNV genome detection in trapped mosquito pools). The costs and calendar day of first detection of these different surveillance systems were compared under three different epidemiological scenarios: very low level circulation, low level recurrent circulation, and epidemic situation. The passive surveillance of 1000 horses by specialized veterinarian clinics appeared to be the most cost-effective system in the current European context, and estimated median dates of first detection appeared consistent with recent field observations. Our results can be used to optimize surveillance designs for different epidemiological requirements.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a major vector-borne zoonosis first identified on the African continent in the early 1900s. In 2000, RVF was reported for the first time in Yemen. In this study, we provide a descriptive analysis of the period 1999-2007 in Yemen, taking into account the environmental and socioeconomic factors likely to have been involved in the emergence of RVF in the country. We characterize each year in the study period by the environmental conditions (linked to vegetation indexes), the festival calendar, and economic data. We then use a principal component analysis to synthesize the different variables, assess whether the year 2000 was atypical compared with other years in the study period, and, if that was the case, in what respect. Our results show that 2000 presented above-normal vegetation index values, which reflect important precipitation, for both the two rainy seasons (the first between March and May; the second between July and October). These environmental conditions, ones favorable to mosquito vector populations, coincided that year with a late (March) starting date of the Eid al-Kabeer festival, which corresponds to a period with high host (cattle, sheep, goats) densities. According to these criteria, 2000 was an atypical year. These conclusions suggest that it is important to consider social variables in addition to environmental ones when assessing the risk of RVF emergence.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a mosquito-borne viral zoonosis of increasing global importance. Occurring since 1930 across Africa, it was detected for the first time in Saudi Arabia and Yemen in September 2000, leading to human deaths and major losses in livestock populations. Assuming the virus has not survived in Yemen or has been circulating at a low level, authors qualitatively assessed the likelihood of "re-introduction" of RVF into Yemen through the legal importation of small ruminants from the Horn of Africa. The overall probability of introduction was assessed very low to medium, increasing during festival periods and higher when considering a direct transmission exposure as compared to a vectorial transmission exposure. The uncertainty was considered to be medium underlining important gaps in information that need to be fulfilled in the region. Options to reduce the risk are proposed and discussed, including possible improvements of the current Yemeni quarantine system.
Tropical Animal Health and Production 10/2010; 43(2):471-80. · 1.09 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a severe mosquito-borne disease affecting humans and domestic ruminants, caused by a Phlebovirus (Bunyaviridae). It is widespread in Africa and has recently spread to Yemen and Saudi Arabia. RVF epidemics are more and more frequent in Africa and the Middle East, probably in relation with climatic changes (episodes of heavy rainfall in eastern and southern Africa), as well as intensified livestock trade. The probability of introduction and large-scale spread of RVF in Europe is very low, but localized RVF outbreaks may occur in humid areas with a large population of ruminants. Should this happen, human cases would probably occur in exposed individuals: farmers, veterinarians, slaughterhouse employees etc. Surveillance and diagnostic methods are available, but control tools are limited: vector control is difficult to implement, and vaccines are only available for ruminants, with either a limited efficacy (inactivated vaccines) or a residual pathogenic effect. The best strategy to protect Europe and the rest of the world against RVF is to develop more efficient surveillance and control tools and to implement coordinated regional monitoring and control programmes.
Euro surveillance: bulletin europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin 03/2010; 15(10):19506. · 5.49 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2005, a serological study was carried out on horses in five ecologically contrasted zones of the Senegal River basin (Senegal) to assess West Nile virus (WNV) transmission and investigate underlying environmental risk factors. In each study zone, horses were randomly selected and blood samples taken. A land-cover map of the five study areas was built using two satellite ETM+ images. Blood samples were screened by ELISA for anti-WNV IgM and IgG and positive samples were confirmed by seroneutralization. Environmental data were analysed using a principal components analysis. The overall IgG seroprevalence rate was 85% (n=367; 95% CI 0.81-0.89). The proximity to sea water, flooded banks and salted mudflats were identified as protective factors. These environmental components are unfavourable to the presence of Culex mosquitoes suggesting that in Senegal, the distribution of the vector species is more limiting for WNV transmission than for the hosts' distribution.
Epidemiology and Infection 02/2010; 138(11):1601-9. · 2.87 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Europe, virological and epidemiological data collected in wild birds and horses suggest that a recurrent circulation of West Nile virus (WNV) could exist in some areas. Whether this circulation is permanent (due to overwintering mechanisms) or not remains unknown. The current conception of WNV epidemiology suggests that it is not: this conception combines an enzootic WNV circulation in tropical Africa with seasonal introductions of the virus in Europe by migratory birds. The objectives of this work were to (i) model this conception of WNV global circulation; and (ii) evaluate whether the model could reproduce data and patterns observed in Europe and Africa in vectors, horses, and birds. The model was calibrated using published seroprevalence data obtained from African (Senegal) and European (Spain) wild birds, and validated using independent, published data: seroprevalence rates in migratory and resident wild birds, minimal infection rates in vectors, as well as seroprevalence and incidence rates in horses. According to this model, overwintering mechanisms are not needed to reproduce the observed data. However, the existence of such mechanisms cannot be ruled out.
Veterinary Research 01/2010; 41(3):32. · 3.43 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Madagascar, Newcastle disease (ND) has become enzootic after the first documented epizootics in 1946, with recurrent annual outbreaks causing mortality up to 40%. Four ND viruses recently isolated in Madagascar were genotypically and pathotypically characterised. By phylogenetic inference based on the F and HN genes, and also full-genome sequence analyses, the NDV Malagasy isolates form a cluster distant enough to constitute a new genotype hereby proposed as genotype XI. This new genotype is presumably deriving from an ancestor close to genotype IV introduced in the island probably more than 50 years ago. Our data show also that all the previously described neutralising epitopes are conserved between Malagasy and vaccine strains. However, the potential implication in vaccination failures of specific amino acid substitutions predominantly found on surface-exposed epitopes of F and HN proteins is discussed.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(11):e13987. · 3.73 Impact Factor