Evidence for enzootic circulation of Rift Valley fever virus among livestock in Cameroon
Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is an arthropod-borne pathogen, causing serious epidemics in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In Cameroon serological data indicate the presence of RVFV, but active circulation of RVFV, causing clinical infections has not been proven yet. For this purpose we carried out a serological and molecular study on a total of 1,953 randomly selected serum samples of small ruminants and cattle, which were collected in years 2013 and 2014 in Cameroon. In a first step, sera were screened serologically using a variety of assay formats to reveal RVFV specific antibodies. At the second stage, seropositive specimen were assessed for acute RVFV infections via IgM-specific ELISA and quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Our data show a significant difference in the antibody prevalence in cattle (13.5% [95% confidence interval: 11.4–15.7]) and small ruminants (3.4% [95% confidence interval: 2.3 - 4.7]), with indications for annual fluctuations and significant regional differences of seropositivity. One small ruminant and three bovines were eventually found to be positive in IgM ELISA and indications for viremia were found in one bovine by RVFV genome detection using quantitative real-time RT-PCR. The results of this study therefore corroborates the presence of acute RVFV-infection and its circulation in Cameroon.