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Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2011 Apr;11(4):395-402. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2009.0249. Epub 2011 Mar 11.

Prevalence of Rift Valley fever infection in ruminants in Madagascar after the 2008 outbreak.

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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Emergency Coordination and Rehabilitation Unit, Antananarivo, Madagascar.


A Rift Valley fever (RVF) outbreak occurred in Madagascar from January to May 2008. The objectives of this study were (1) to assess the current and past circulation of RVF virus (RVFV) in livestock in Madagascar and (2) to evaluate the extent and magnitude of the 2008 RVF outbreak in livestock. The results of a country-wide serosurvey conducted in August 2008 on small and large ruminants are reported here. The study included 3437 cattle and 989 small ruminants (227 sheep and 762 goats) sampled in 30 of the 111 Malagasy districts, selected to be representative of the different ecozones and livestock density areas. Sera of animals were tested for the detection of immunoglobulins M (IgM) and G (IgG) against RVFV using commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays kits. Recent infections (presence of IgM against RVFV) were detected in only 9 cattle (0.3% [0.1-0.4]) and 33 small ruminant (3.3% [2.2-4.5]) samples. Past infections (presence of IgG and absence of IgM against RVFV) were detected in 887 cattle (25.8% [24.3-27.3]) and 244 small ruminant (24.7% [22.0-27.4]) samples. Past infections were detected in all sampled sites. All ecozones were affected. In the southern and northwestern areas, the prevalence of cattle showing evidence of past infection with RVFV increased with the age of the animals. Our results suggest that there has been country-wide circulation of RVFV in 2008 in Madagascar, including in parts of the country where no clinical illness, either in animals or in humans, was reported. The data also suggest that the southern and northwestern areas may be endemic for RVFV, and that the virus may spread when ecological conditions are favorable for its amplification.

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