Reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) for diagnosis of Rift Valley fever (RVF) was evaluated by using 293 human and animal sera sampled during an RVF outbreak in Mauritania in 1998. Results of the RT-PCR diagnostic method were compared with those of virus isolation (VI) and detection of immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies. Our results showed that RT-PCR is a specific, sensitive tool for RVF diagnosis in the early phase of the disease and that its results do not differ significantly from those obtained by VI. Moreover, the combined results of RT-PCR and IgM antibody detection were in 100% concordance with the results of VI.
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