Seroprevalence of Rift Valley fever in cattle of smallholder farmers in Kwilu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a zoonotic mosquito-borne disease caused by RVF virus (RVFV) that causes abortions and high mortalities in livestock and is also associated with acute and fatal disease in humans. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), information on the epidemiology of RVF is limited, particularly among cattle reared by smallholder farmers. This cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate the seroprevalence of RVF in cattle raised by smallholder farmers in Kwilu Province of DRC, which has not yet reported an RVF epidemic. A total of 677 cattle sera were collected from four territories and tested for anti-RVFV antibodies using immunofluorescent assay and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The overall seroprevalence of anti-RVFV IgG was 6.5% (44/677) (95% CI 4.81–8.7). There was a statistically significant difference in the seroprevalence among the territories (χ2 = 28.79, p < 0.001). Territory seroprevalences were as follows: Idiofa 14.08% (95% CI 9.78–19.76), Bulungu 4.14% (95% CI 1.83–8.68), Gungu 3.21% (95% CI 1.41–6.78), and Masi-Manimba 1.19% (95% CI 0.06–7.37). Seroprevalence differed significantly among age categories (p = 0.0017) and ecosystem (p < 0.001). The seroprevalence of animals aged between 1 and 2 years was 20.0% (95% CI 8.4–39.13) and was higher than group aged <1 year, between 2 and 3 years, and > 3 years. Forest area (18.92% (95% CI 12.35–27.7)) had higher seropositivity than savannah area (4.06% (95% CI 2.65–6.12)). Sex difference was not significant (χ2 = 0.14, p = 0.704). These findings indicate that cattle in Kwilu Province had been exposed to RVFV, which represents a significant risk for both livestock and human health.
KeywordsCattle Democratic Republic of Congo Kwilu Province Rift Valley fever Seroprevalence Smallholder farmers
We would like to thank the Ministry of Agriculture Breeding and Fisheries of the Democratic Republic of Congo for their support in carrying out this study. We are also grateful to officials of the Provincial Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock and to cattle farmers in Kwilu Province for their support.
Compliance with ethical standards
This study was approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock, Local Politico-Administrative Authorities. Consent for blood sample collection using conventional methods from cattle herds was obtained from owners.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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