Detection of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus-specific IgG antibodies in ruminants residing in Central and Western Macedonia, Greece
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a tick-borne virus which causes lethal hemorrhagic fever in humans. Although, several reports regarding CCHFV antibody prevalence in humans exist in Greece, information about the current distribution is limited. The aim of the present study is to investigate the prevalence of CCHFV-specific IgG antibodies in cattle and sheep in Macedonia-Greece. The samplings were performed during spring 2013, in 5 regional units of Central Macedonia (Chalkidiki, Imathia, Kilkis, Pella and Thessaloniki) and in the 4 regional units of Western Macedonia (Grevena, Florina, Kastoria and Kozani). Specifically, sera from 538 cattle and 81 sheep underwent testing against CCHFV-specific IgG antibodies. Antiviral immune responses were observed in 31 cattle (6%, 95% CI: 4-8%) and in one sheep (1%, 95% CI: 0-8%). The total seroprevalence in the cattle sampled in Central Macedonia was 7% (28 out of 396, 95% CI: 5-10%). Within Central Macedonia, the highest seroprevalence was detected in Chalkidiki (38%, 95% CI: 23-56%), which was significantly higher (p < 0.01) compared to the overall seroprevalence detected in cattle. In Western Macedonia, the total seroprevalence in cattle was 2% (3 out of 142, 95% CI: 1-7%). The 3 seropositive cattle were residing in the regional unit of Grevena. The one IgG-positive sheep serum was obtained from an animal residing in Thessaloniki. In this regional unit, the prevalence in sheep (2%, 95% CI: 0-10%) was much lower compared to the prevalence in cattle (12%, 95% CI: 6-22%), but significance was not achieved (p = 0.03). The here presented seroepidemiological study demonstrates high transmission risk to human in specific geographical areas, which should be communicated to national and local public health authorities, so as to intensify preventive measures for public health protection.
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