Biodiversity and relative abundance of ticks and associated arboviruses in Garissa (northeastern) and Isiolo (eastern) provinces of Kenya were evaluated. Ticks were collected from livestock, identified to species, pooled, and processed for virus isolation. In Garissa, Rhipicephalus pulchellus Gerstacker (57.8%) and Hyalomma truncatum Koch (27.8%) were the most abundant species sampled, whereas R. pulchellus (80.4%) and Amblyomma gemma Donitz (9.6%) were the most abundant in Isiolo. Forty-four virus isolates, comprising Dugbe virus (DUGV; n = 22) and Kupe virus (n = 10; Bunyaviridae: Nirovirus), Dhori virus (DHOV; n = 10; Orthomyxoviridae: Thogotovirus),and Ngari virus (NRIV; n = 2; Bunyaviridae: Orthobunyavirus), were recovered mostly from R. pulchellus sampled in Isiolo. DUGV was mostly recovered from R. pulchellus from sheep and cattle, and DHOV from R. pulchellus from sheep. All Kupe virus isolates were from Isiolo ticks, including R. pulchellus from all the livestock, A. gemma and Amblyomma variegatum F. from cattle, and H. truncatum from goat. NRIV was obtained from R. pulchellus and A. gemma sampled from cattle in Isiolo and Garissa, respectively, while all DHOV and most DUGV (n = 12) were from R. pulchellus sampled from cattle in Garissa. DUGV was also recovered from H. truncatum and Amblyomma hebraeum Koch from cattle and from Rhipicephalus annulatus Say from camel. This surveillance study has demonstrated the circulation of select tick-borne viruses in parts of eastern and northeastern provinces of Kenya, some of which are of public health importance. The isolation of NRIV from ticks is particularly significant because it is usually known to be a mosquito-borne virus affecting humans.
The diversity of mosquito arbovirus vectors was investigated to define regional risk of arbovirus transmission in Kenya. Mosquitoes were sampled between April, 2007 and December, 2010 at thirteen sites across seven administrative provinces and ecological zones. CDC light traps were used to collect mosquitoes while human-landing collection was conducted in five of the sites to target day-feeding Aedes (Stegomyia) species. Over 524,000 mosquitoes were collected and identified into 101 species, 30 of them known vectors of arboviruses endemic to Kenya. Ae. (Neomelaniconion) mcintoshi and Ae. (Aedimorphus) ochraceus were most abundant in Garissa in the arid northeastern province, and Mansonia uniformis and Mn. africana in semi-arid Baringo in the Rift Valley Province. Ae. ochraceus, Mn. africana and Mn. uniformis were also significant in Nyanza Province, while Ae. (Neomelaniconion) circumluteolus predominated in Budalangi, Western Province. Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti was predominant in Rabai in the Coast Province but insignificant in the western and Nyanza sites. Culex pipiens was abundant in Rift Valley and Nyanza Provinces around the lake shores. This study highlights the potential for emergence and re-emergence of arboviral diseases among vulnerable populations. This calls for comprehensive mapping of vector distribution and abundance for planning focused vector control measures.
BACKGROUND: Increased frequency of arbovirus outbreaks in East Africa necessitated the determination of distribution of risk by entomologic arbovirus surveillance. A systematic vector surveillance programme spanning 5 years and covering 11 sites representing seven of the eight provinces in Kenya and located in diverse ecological zones was carried out. METHODS: Mosquitoes were sampled bi-annually during the wet seasons and screened for arboviruses. Mosquitoes were identified to species, pooled by species, collection date and site and screened for arboviruses by isolation in cell culture and/or RT-PCR screening and sequencing. RESULTS: Over 450,000 mosquitoes in 15,890 pools were screened with 83 viruses being detected/isolated that include members of the alphavirus, flavivirus and orthobunyavirus genera many of which are known to be of significant public health importance in the East African region. These include West Nile, Ndumu, Sindbis, Bunyamwera, Pongola and Usutu viruses detected from diverse sites. Ngari virus, which was associated with hemorrhagic fever in northern Kenya in 1997/98 was isolated from a pool of Anopheles funestus sampled from Tana-delta and from Aedes mcintoshi from Garissa. Insect only flaviviruses previously undescribed in Kenya were also isolated in the coastal site of Rabai. A flavivirus most closely related to the Chaoyang virus, a new virus recently identified in China and two isolates closely related to Quang Binh virus previously unreported in Kenya were also detected. CONCLUSION: Active transmission of arboviruses of public health significance continues in various parts of the country with possible undetermined human impact. Arbovirus activity was highest in the pastoralist dominated semi-arid to arid zones sites of the country where 49% of the viruses were isolated suggesting a role of animals as amplifiers and indicating the need for improved arbovirus disease diagnosis among pastoral communities.
West Nile virus (WNV) is currently active in Kenya as evidenced by the detection of antibodies in birds bled as part of an avian influenza surveillance program in 2009. Although WNV has been isolated from several mosquito species in Kenya, no studies have ever been conducted to determine which of these species are competent vectors of this virus. Therefore, we allowed Kenyan mosquitoes to feed on 2- or 3-d-old chickens that had been infected with a Lineage one strain of WNV 24-48 h earlier. These mosquitoes were tested approximately 2 wk later to determine infection, dissemination, and transmission rates. All five species [Culex quinquefasciatus Say, Culex univittatus Theobald, Culex vansomereni Edwards, Mansonia africana (Theobald), and Mansonia uniformis (Theobald)] were susceptible to infection, but disseminated infections were detected only in the three Culex, and not the two Mansonia species. Culex mosquitoes with a disseminated infection readily transmitted virus by bite, but even when inoculated with WNV, the two Mansonia failed to transmit virus, indicating a salivary gland barrier. These studies indicate that the three Culex species may play a role in the transmission of WNV in Kenya.
The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, Division of Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System Operations (AFHSC-GEIS) initiated a coordinated, multidisciplinary program to link data sets and information derived from eco-climatic remote sensing activities, ecologic niche modeling, arthropod vector, animal disease-host/reservoir, and human disease surveillance for febrile illnesses, into a predictive surveillance program that generates advisories and alerts on emerging infectious disease outbreaks. The programs ultimate goal is pro-active public health practice through pre-event preparedness, prevention and control, and response decision-making and prioritization. This multidisciplinary program is rooted in over 10 years experience in predictive surveillance for Rift Valley fever outbreaks in Eastern Africa. The AFHSC-GEIS Rift Valley fever project is based on the identification and use of disease-emergence critical detection points as reliable signals for increased outbreak risk. The AFHSC-GEIS predictive surveillance program has formalized the Rift Valley fever project into a structured template for extending predictive surveillance capability to other Department of Defense (DoD)-priority vector- and water-borne, and zoonotic diseases and geographic areas. These include leishmaniasis, malaria, and Crimea-Congo and other viral hemorrhagic fevers in Central Asia and Africa, dengue fever in Asia and the Americas, Japanese encephalitis (JE) and chikungunya fever in Asia, and rickettsial and other tick-borne infections in the U.S., Africa and Asia.
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a tick-borne viral disease mainly affecting pastoralists who come in contact with animals infested with Hyalomma ticks, which are the key vectors of CCHF virus (CCHFV). CCHFV has been detected among these ticks in parts of North Eastern Kenya. This study aimed to identify acute cases of CCHF, and to determine the extent of previous exposure to CCHFV in an outpatient population attending Sangailu and Ijara health centers, Ijara District, North Eastern Kenya, presenting with acute febrile illnesses. A total of 517 human serum samples were collected from these patients. The samples were screened for the presence of IgM and IgG antibodies to CCHF using CCCHF-IgG and IgM ELISA test kits. A multivariable logistic regression model was used to investigate the risk factors associated with evidence of exposure to CCHFV. A single patient tested positive for anti-CCHF IgM, while 96 were positive for anti-CCHF IgG. The seroprevalence of CCHFV was 23% in Sangailu and 14% in Ijara. Most exposed persons were aged 40-49 years. The likelihood of exposure was highest among farmers (29%). Age, location, and contact with donkeys were significantly associated with exposure to CCHFV. Acute CCHFV infections could be occurring without being detected in this population. This study confirms human exposure to CCHF virus in Ijara District, Kenya, and identifies several significant risk factors associated with exposure to CCHFV.
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