Serologic evidence of silent Rift Valley fever virus infection among occupationally exposed persons in northern Nigeria
Introduction: Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a zoonotic disease caused by RVF virus (RVFV) and transmitted primarily by mosquitoes and contact with fluids and tissues of infected animals. First described in Kenya, it has spread to many African countries and beyond. In humans, it is sometimes misdiagnosed because the symptoms resemble those of influenza and/or malaria. Butchers, abattoir workers, and livestock keepers have the highest risk of infection.
Methodology: In this study, serum samples collected between February and September 2019 from 196 individuals comprising of butchers (n = 121), abattoir/slaughterhouse workers (n = 55), and livestock keepers (n = 20) in Benue, Sokoto, and Borno States of northern Nigeria were screened using a commercial ELISA that detected anti-RVFV IgM and IgG alike (i.e., without discrimination). Data from administered questionnaires and the ELISA results were statistically analyzed.
Results: Thirty-nine (19.9%) of the 196 samples were positive for RVFV antibodies. The distribution by states showed that 17.4% (8/46), 21.7% (15/69), and 19.8% (16/81) of samples from Benue, Sokoto, and Borno States were seropositive, respectively. Additionally, 21.5% (26/121) butchers, 16.4% (9/55) abattoir workers, and 20% (4/20) livestock keepers were seropositive.
Conclusions: These findings provide serological evidence for exposure of occupationally at-risk individuals in northern Nigeria to RVFV. The higher seropositivity obtained in Sokoto and Borno states could be due to contact of these individuals with infected animal blood/tissues, aborted fetuses, and unhindered transboundary movement of animals and animal products into these states which share international borders with Niger, Chad, and Cameroon where evidences of RVFV infections were recently reported.
Copyright (c) 2022 Arthur O. Oragwa, Faith Oragwa, Daniel Oluwayelu
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).