Emergence of Wesselsbron virus among black rat and humans in Eastern Senegal in 2013

Abstract : Wesselsbron disease is a neglected mosquito transmitted Flavivirus infection that causes abortions and has tera-togenic effects on sheep and cattle in Africa. Human can also be infected. The detection of human or animal cases is complicated by the non-specific symptoms close to Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in domestic livestock species or Dengue like syndrome in humans. Then, these detections are usually made during RVF investigations in sheep. These domestic animals should take a role in the life cycle of the virus but some evidences of Wesselsbron virus (WSLV) presence in wild animals suggest that the latter may be involved in the virus maintenance in nature. However, the reservoir status of wild vertebrate in general and rodents particularly for WSLV is only based on an isolation from a Cape short-eared gerbil in southern Africa. Most of WSLV isolations are from southern parts of Africa even if it has been found in western and central Africa or Madagascar. In Senegal, there are serological evidences of WSLV circulation in human since the 1970s and some isolations, the last one of which dates back in 1992. Despite the detection of the virus on mosquitoes until the 2000s in different parts of the country, no new human case has been noted. In this paper, we report the WSLV re-emergence in eastern Senegal in 2013 with 2 human cases and its first isolation from a black rat Rattus rattus. Sequencing analyses show the circulation of the same strain between these humans and the commensal rodent. The putative impact on WSLV transmission to human populations could be more important if the reservoir status of the black rat is confirmed. Focused survey in human populations, specific entomological and mammalogical investigations would permit a better understanding of the life cycle of the virus and its impact on public health.
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Moussa Diagne, Martin Faye, Oumar Faye, Abdourahmane Sow, Fanny Balique, et al.. Emergence of Wesselsbron virus among black rat and humans in Eastern Senegal in 2013. One Health, Elsevier, 2017, 3, pp.23-28. ⟨10.1016/j.onehlt.2017.02.001⟩. ⟨inserm-01980579⟩

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