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Open AccessArticle

Early Pathogenesis of Wesselsbron Disease in Pregnant Ewes

Department of Virology, Wageningen Bioveterinary Research, Houtribweg 39, 8221 RA Lelystad, The Netherlands
Laboratory of Virology, Wageningen University & Research, P.O. Box 16, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pathogens 2020, 9(5), 373;
Received: 11 March 2020 / Revised: 24 April 2020 / Accepted: 9 May 2020 / Published: 13 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogen-Fetal Interactions)
Wesselsbron virus (WSLV) is a neglected, mosquito-borne flavivirus that is endemic to the African continent. The virus is teratogenic to ruminants and causes a self-limiting febrile illness in humans. Wesselsbron disease manifests with similar clinical signs and occurs in the same areas under the same climatic conditions as Rift Valley fever, which is therefore included in the differential diagnosis. Although the gross pathology of WSLV infection in pregnant ewes is reported in literature, the pathogenesis that leads to stillbirths, congenital malformations and abortion has remained undescribed. In the present study, pregnant ewes were inoculated with WSLV and subjected to detailed clinical- and histopathology 8 days later. The virus was mainly detected in foetal trophoblasts of the placenta and in neural progenitor cells, differentiated neurons, oligodendrocytes, microglia and astrocytes. Our study demonstrates that WSLV efficiently crosses the maternal–foetal interface and is highly neuroinvasive in the ovine foetus. View Full-Text
Keywords: Wesselsbron virus; flavivirus; vertical transmission; pregnant ewes; immunohistochemistry; neuroinvasion Wesselsbron virus; flavivirus; vertical transmission; pregnant ewes; immunohistochemistry; neuroinvasion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Oymans, J.; van Keulen, L.; Wichgers Schreur, P.J.; Kortekaas, J. Early Pathogenesis of Wesselsbron Disease in Pregnant Ewes. Pathogens 2020, 9, 373.

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