Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 51, Issue 8, pp 2619–2627 | Cite as

Seroprevalence of Rift Valley fever in cattle of smallholder farmers in Kwilu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Abdel-Amir Dib HalawiEmail author
  • Ngonda Saasa
  • Boniface Lombe Pongombo
  • Masahiro Kajihara
  • Herman Moses Chambaro
  • Mutambel Hity
  • Hirofumi Sawa
  • Ayato Takada
  • Aaron S Mweene
  • Luamba Lua Nsembo
  • Edgar Simulundu
Regular Articles


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.


Cattle 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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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdel-Amir Dib Halawi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ngonda Saasa
    • 2
  • Boniface Lombe Pongombo
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Masahiro Kajihara
    • 3
  • Herman Moses Chambaro
    • 6
    • 7
  • Mutambel Hity
    • 1
    • 8
  • Hirofumi Sawa
    • 7
    • 9
    • 10
  • Ayato Takada
    • 2
    • 3
    • 9
  • Aaron S Mweene
    • 2
    • 11
  • Luamba Lua Nsembo
    • 1
  • Edgar Simulundu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of SciencesNational Pedagogic UniversityKinshasaDemocratic Republic of Congo
  2. 2.Department of Disease Control, School of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of ZambiaLusakaZambia
  3. 3.Division of Global Epidemiology, Research Center for Zoonosis ControlHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  4. 4.Central Veterinary LaboratoryKinshasaDemocratic Republic of Congo
  5. 5.Faculty of Veterinary MedicineNational Pedagogic UniversityKinshasaDemocratic Republic of Congo
  6. 6.Department of Veterinary ServicesMinistry of Fisheries and LivestockChilangaZambia
  7. 7.Division of Molecular Pathobiology, Research Center for Zoonosis ControlHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  8. 8.Department of Microbiology, Division of Life Science, Regional Center for Nuclear StudiesUniversity of KinshasaKinshasaDemocratic Republic of Congo
  9. 9.Global Station for Zoonosis Control, Global Institution for Collaborative Research and Education (GI-CORE)Hokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  10. 10.Global Virus NetworkBaltimoreUSA
  11. 11.Africa Centre of Excellence of Infectious Diseases of Humans and AnimalsUniversity of ZambiaLusakaZambia

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