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PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e35216. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035216. Epub 2012 Apr 23.

Phylogeography of Rift Valley Fever virus in Africa reveals multiple introductions in Senegal and Mauritania.

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  • 1Institut Pasteur de Dakar, Dakar, Senegal.

Abstract

Rift Valley Fever (RVF) virus (Family Bunyaviridae) is an arthropod-borne RNA virus that infects primarily domestic ruminants and occasionally humans. RVF epizootics are characterized by numerous abortions and mortality among young animals. In humans, the illness is usually characterized by a mild self-limited febrile illness, which could progress to more serious complications. RVF virus is widespread and endemic in many regions of Africa. In Western Africa, several outbreaks have been reported since 1987 when the first major one occurred at the frontier of Senegal and Mauritania. Aiming to evaluate the spreading and molecular epidemiology in these countries, RVFV isolates from 1944 to 2008 obtained from 18 localities in Senegal and Mauritania and 15 other countries were investigated. Our results suggest that a more intense viral activity possibly took place during the last century compared to the recent past and that at least 5 introductions of RVFV took place in Senegal and Mauritania from distant African regions. Moreover, Barkedji in Senegal was possibly a hub associated with the three distinct entries of RVFV in West Africa.

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