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Viruses 2019, 11(2), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11020140

Rift Valley Fever Virus Exposure amongst Farmers, Farm Workers, and Veterinary Professionals in Central South Africa

1
Epidemiology Section, Department of Animal Production Studies; Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa
2
Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service, Sandringham 2192, South Africa
3
MassGenics, Duluth, GA 30026, USA
4
Influenza Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
5
Influenza Division and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30301, USA
6
ExecuVet (Pty) LTD, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa
7
National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service, Sandringham 2192, South Africa
8
Division of Virology, National Health Laboratory Service and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa
9
EcoHealth Alliance, New York, NY 10001, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 December 2018 / Revised: 1 February 2019 / Accepted: 5 February 2019 / Published: 7 February 2019
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Abstract

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a re-emerging arboviral disease of public health and veterinary importance in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Major RVF epidemics were documented in South Africa in 1950–1951, 1974–1975, and 2010–2011. The number of individuals infected during these outbreaks has, however, not been accurately estimated. A total of 823 people in close occupational contact with livestock were interviewed and sampled over a six-month period in 2015–2016 within a 40,000 km2 study area encompassing parts of the Free State and Northern Cape provinces that were affected during the 2010–2011 outbreak. Seroprevalence of RVF virus (RVFV) was 9.1% (95% Confidence Interval (CI95%): 7.2–11.5%) in people working or residing on livestock or game farms and 8.0% in veterinary professionals. The highest seroprevalence (SP = 15.4%; CI95%: 11.4–20.3%) was detected in older age groups (≥40 years old) that had experienced more than one known large epidemic compared to the younger participants (SP = 4.3%; CI95%: 2.6–7.3%). The highest seroprevalence was in addition found in people who injected animals, collected blood samples (Odds ratio (OR) = 2.3; CI95%: 1.0–5.3), slaughtered animals (OR = 3.9; CI95%: 1.2–12.9) and consumed meat from an animal found dead (OR = 3.1; CI95%: 1.5–6.6), or worked on farms with dams for water storage (OR = 2.7; CI95%: 1.0–6.9). We estimated the number of historical RVFV infections of farm staff in the study area to be most likely 3849 and 95% credible interval between 2635 and 5374 based on seroprevalence of 9.1% and national census data. We conclude that human RVF cases were highly underdiagnosed and heterogeneously distributed. Improving precautions during injection, sample collection, slaughtering, and meat processing for consumption, and using personal protective equipment during outbreaks, could lower the risk of RVFV infection. View Full-Text
Keywords: Rift Valley fever virus; emerging disease; South Africa; seroprevalence; human exposure; statistical case estimation; spatial distribution Rift Valley fever virus; emerging disease; South Africa; seroprevalence; human exposure; statistical case estimation; spatial distribution
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Msimang, V.; Thompson, P.N.; Jansen van Vuren, P.; Tempia, S.; Cordel, C.; Kgaladi, J.; Khosa, J.; Burt, F.J.; Liang, J.; Rostal, M.K.; Karesh, W.B.; Paweska, J.T. Rift Valley Fever Virus Exposure amongst Farmers, Farm Workers, and Veterinary Professionals in Central South Africa. Viruses 2019, 11, 140.

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