Serosurveillance of viral pathogens circulating in West Africa

  • A.E. O
  • M.A. V
  • D.P. F
  • et al.
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Abstract

Background: Sub-Saharan Africa is home to a variety of pathogens, but disease surveillance and the healthcare infrastructure necessary for proper management and control are severely limited. Lassa virus, the cause of Lassa fever, a severe hemorrhagic fever in humans is endemic in West Africa. In Sierra Leone at the Kenema Government Hospital Lassa Diagnostic Laboratory, up to 70 % of acute patient samples suspected of Lassa fever test negative for Lassa virus infection. This large amount of acute undiagnosed febrile illness can be attributed in part to an array of hemorrhagic fever and arthropod-borne viruses causing disease that goes undetected and untreated. Methods: To better define the nature and extent of viral pathogens infecting the Sierra Leonean population, we developed a multiplexed MAGPIX assay to detect IgG antibodies against Lassa, Ebola, Marburg, Rift Valley fever, and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever viruses as well as pan-assays for flaviviruses and alphaviruses. This assay was used to survey 675 human serum samples submitted to the Lassa Diagnostic Laboratory between 2007 and 2014. Results: In the study population, 50.2 % were positive for Lassa virus, 5.2 % for Ebola virus, 10.7 % for Marburg virus, 1.8 % for Rift Valley fever virus, 2.0 % for Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, 52.9 % for flaviviruses and 55.8 % for alphaviruses. Conclusions: These data exemplify the importance of disease surveillance and differential diagnosis for viral diseases in Sierra Leone. We demonstrate the endemic nature of some of these viral pathogens in the region and suggest that unrecognized outbreaks of viral infection have occurred.Copyright © 2016 The Author(s).

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A.E., O., M.A., V., D.P., F., N., W., M.R., C., J., B., … J.-P., G. (2016). Serosurveillance of viral pathogens circulating in West Africa. Virology Journal, 13(1), 1–6. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12985-016-0621-4

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