Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus Infections in Cattle in Kosovo
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a zoonotic vector-born viral disease named for the causative agent, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV). CCHFV is a member of the family Nairoviridae, genus Orthonairovirus. The virus is mainly transmitted via tick bites. Other transmission pathways are contact to blood, other bodily fluids and tissues of viremic animals or human patients. The case fatality rate in humans lies between 2 and 80%. Unlike humans, animals do not show clinical signs but they develop a stable antibody titer after a short viremia (< 2 weeks). Hence, seroepidemiological studies in livestock are very useful as risk indicator for CCHF in humans. The aim of this study was to examine the distribution of CCHFV infections among cattle in different districts of Kosovo. This survey was carried out in 2013-2014. Blood samples were taken from the jugular vein of 932 cattle in Kosovo. These sera were collected from nine different districts of Kosovo (Suhareke, Rahovec, Malisheve, Kline, Decan, Drenas, Prizren, Peje and Gjakove) and were tested with different serological assays (ELISA and IFA) at Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI), Greifswald, Germany. Through these techniques it was possible to identify CCHFV-specific IgG antibodies in serum samples of infected animals. Specific IgG antibodies were detected in cattle from all sampled areas and detected prevalence were substantial in some districts (43, 64% in Malisheve, followed by 25.25% in Rahovec). The overall seroprevalence was 19.21% (179 positives), with major CCHFV risk areas in Malisheve and Rahovec.