Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is a zoonotic arbovirus of the Phenuiviridae family. Infection causes abortions in pregnant animals, high mortality in neonate animals, and mild to severe symptoms in both people and animals. There is currently an ongoing effort to produce safe and efficacious veterinary vaccines against RVFV in livestock to protect against both primary infection in animals and zoonotic infections in people. To test the efficacy of these vaccines, it is essential to have a reliable challenge model in relevant target species, including ruminants. We evaluated two goat breeds (Nubian and LaMancha), three routes of inoculation (intranasal, mosquito-primed subcutaneous, and subcutaneous) using an infectious dose of 107
pfu/mL, a virus strain from the 2006–2007 Kenyan/Sudan outbreak and compared the effect of using virus stocks produced in either mammalian or mosquito cells. Our results demonstrated that the highest and longest viremia titers were achieved in Nubian goats. The Nubian breed was also efficient at producing clinical signs, consistent viremia (peak viremia: 1.2 × 103
–1.0 × 105
pfu/mL serum), nasal and oral shedding of viral RNA (1.5 × 101
–8 × 106
genome copies/swab), a systemic infection of tissues, and robust antibody responses regardless of the inoculation route. The Nubian goat breed and a needle-free intranasal inoculation technique could both be utilized in future vaccine and challenge studies. These studies are important for preventing the spread and outbreak of zoonotic viruses like RVFV and are supported by the Canadian-led BSL4ZNet network.
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