Title page for ETD etd-05242012-125236

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Mapaco, Lourenco Paulo
Email lpmapaco@yahoo.com
URN etd-05242012-125236
Document Title An investigation of an outbreak of Rift Valley fever on a cattle farm in Bela-Bela, South Africa in 2008
Degree MSc
Department Veterinary Tropical Diseases
Advisor Name Title
Prof J A W Coetzer Co-Supervisor
Prof J T Paweska Co-Supervisor
Prof E H Venter Supervisor
  • South Africa
  • Bela-Bela
  • Rift Valley fever
  • cattle farm
Date 2012-04-13
Availability unrestricted
During March 2008 a suspected outbreak of Rift Valley fever was reported on a farm in the Bela-Bela area, Limpopo Province of South Africa. The affected dairy farm, where no vaccination programme against RVF were practiced, applies an intensive farming system with 300 Holstein Friesland cattle (calves included) as well as 200 Pedi sheep on the farm. Seven calves died on this farm but no apparent clinical disease was reported in cattle as well as in sheep. During the outbreak blood samples from cattle and sheep were taken and the animals were re-sampled 8 weeks later. A set of sera was also collected from cattle on a neighbouring farm. The aim of the study was to determine the extent of the outbreak by evaluating if the virus had also infected other animals on the affected farm as well as on a neighbouring farm.

During the first blood collection 233 samples were taken from cattle and 73 from sheep on the affected farm; 55 blood samples were taken from cattle on a neighbouring farm. A second blood collection was only done on the affected farm and 234 cattle and 85 sheep were bled. All the sera collected were tested by an IgM-capture ELISA and by an indirect IgG ELISA. Selected IgM positive (n=14), IgG positive (n=23) and samples negative for both IgM and IgG (n=19) were then tested by the serum neutralization test (SNT). Sera from IgM positive (14) and negative (20) animals were also tested by a TaqMan PCR.

Results from the affected farm showed that 7% (16/233) of cattle samples were IgMpositive and 13.7% (32/233) IgG positive at the first collection of samples, and 2% were IgM-positive at the second sample collection. The number of cattle positive for RVF virus-specific IgG antibodies increased by 20.3% when compared to the first bled. Only 1.4% of sheep were both positive for anti-RVF virus IgM and IgG antibodies at the first collection; IgM-positive cases decreased to 1.2%, while IgG-positive cases increased to 2.4% at the second bled. Although no IgM-positive cattle could be found on the neighbouring farm, 5.5% of cattle were IgG-positive.

The SNT confirmed most of the ELISA results. Three samples that tested positive for anti-RVF virus IgM and one anti-RVF virus IgG positive sample using ELISA tested negative using the SNT. Two samples that tested negative for both IgM and IgG antibodies using ELISA, tested low positive (1:10 and 1:20) using the SNT. All samples tested using a TaqMan PCR were negative.

On the affected farm, apart from the seven calves that died, cattle were also infected. There was evidence of virus circulation on the neighbouring farm but the negative PCR results indicate that at the time the animals were sampled they were not viraemic.

How the virus was introduced onto the farm is not clear. The possibility of low level virus circulation in animals and the reactivation of virus from endemic foci by the breeding of vector competent mosquitoes on the low-lying area on the farm in Bela-Bela may have led to ideal circumstances for an outbreak to occur. The fact that mostly cattle seroconverted suggests a higher host preference of the local population of mosquitoes for cattle rather than sheep.

Copyright 2011, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria

Please cite as follows:

Mapaco, LP 2011, An investigation of an outbreak of Rift Valley fever on a cattle farm in Bela-Bela, South Africa in 2008, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05242012-125236 / >


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