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Acta Trop. 2013 Aug;127(2):91-6. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2013.03.018. Epub 2013 Apr 6.

Outbreak investigation and molecular characterization of African horse sickness virus circulating in selected areas of Ethiopia.

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National Veterinary Institute, P.O. Box 19, Debre-zeit, Ethiopia.


The study was conducted from June 2011 to May 2012 in central, northern and western parts of Ethiopia to investigate and identify circulating serotypes of African horse sickness virus (AHSV). The indigenous knowledge of equine owners about AHS in the study areas was assessed and also the retrospective data of AHS outbreaks for 2011 were analyzed. Whole blood samples were collected for virus isolation and serotyping from diseased horses and mules showing typical signs of the AHS. Virus isolation on Vero cell and detection of AHSV genomes using conventional RT-PCR were conducted. Further molecular characterization and serotyping were done on positive isolates. The questionnaire survey revealed that equine owners do recognize AHS clinically and have a local name that varies in different regions. From the 72 equine owners interviewed about their knowhow of AHS, 48 (66.7%) of respondents were not aware of AHS disease mode of transmission. The retrospective disease report data showed that a total of 208 outbreaks were reported and 3036 cases and 1167 deaths were recorded in 2011. AHS outbreaks were more frequently observed from September to December and the highest number of outbreaks was recorded in October. During the study period totally six outbreaks were investigated and a total of 62 horses and 10 mules were found sick and all the four forms of AHS were observed. Cardiac form accounted for 52.8%, followed by African horse sickness fever form 31.9%, pulmonary form 8.4% and mixed form 6.9%. AHSV-9 was the only serotype circulating in the outbreak areas.

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