Jihene Hellal(1,2¥), Selma Mejri(1¥*), Sandra Lacote(3), Soufien Sghaier(1), Abderrazek Dkhil(1), Elena Arsevska(4), Didier Calavas(4), Viviane Hénaux(4), Philippe Marianneau(3) and Salah Hammami(5)
1-Tunisian Institute of Veterinary Research, Rue Djebel Lakhdhar – La Rabta 1006 Tunis, University of Tunis El Manar, Tunis 1068, Tunisia
2- Faculty of Sciences of Bizerte, Carthage University, Tunisia
3- Virology Unit, French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), Laboratory of Lyon, 31 Avenue Tony Garnier 69007 Lyon, France
4- Epidemiology and Support to Surveillance Unit, French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), Laboratory of Lyon, 31 Avenue Tony Garnier 69007 Lyon, France
5- National School of Veterinary Medicine Sidi-Thabet, University of Manouba, Ariana 2020, Tunisia
¥These authors contributed equally to this work
Background: Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an infectious zoonotic disease infecting, mainly, domestic ruminants and causing significant economic and public health problems. RVF is a vector-borne disease transmitted by mosquitoes.
Aim: In this work, we tried to seek any RVF virus circulation in Tunisia.
Methods: Thus, we investigated 1,723 sera from different parts of Tunisia, collected in 2009 and 2013-2015 from sheep, goats, cattle, and dromedaries. All sera were assessed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) techniques.
Results: Eighty-seven sera were detected positive and 11 doubtful. All of them were investigated by the Virus-Neutralization Technique (VNT), which confirmed the positivity of three sera.
Conclusion: This is the first case of RVF seropositive confirmed by the VNT in Tunisian ruminants. Such a result was expected considering the climatic, entomologic, and geographic location of the country. Further investigations must enhance our findings to understand the RVF epidemiologic situation better and implement risk-based surveillance programs and effective control strategies.
Keywords: Rift Valley fever, Tunisia, Epidemiology, ELISA, Virus-Neutralization Technique.