Neutralising antibodies to West Nile virus detected in horses in Windhoek, Namibia

Authors

Keywords:

West Nile virus, Windhoek, Namibia, antibody, horses, cELISA

Abstract

West Nile virus (WNV) is a vector-borne virus maintained in nature by a bird-mosquito cycle. However, it can occasionally and accidentally infect horses and human beings, leading to sometimes severe or even fatal outcomes in these species. Therefore, the monitoring of its circulation and disease occurrence is of relevance. Unfortunately, it is underdiagnosed or not diagnosed in several African counties, including Namibia, where no data is currently available for horses. In this study, 98 horses in three different stables in the Windhoek city area were investigated. They were found to have a seroprevalence of approximately 7%. Positive reactions were seen at all three stables, suggesting a greater than expected prevalence of the virus. This is the first report of serological evidence for the presence of the virus in horses in Nambia. Even though clinical signs were not reported in any of the stables from which the sera were derived, the seroprevalence to the virus suggests that horses with high genetic and/or economic value could benefit from vaccination against WNV. Because of the zoonotic potential of the virus, these findings are also of significance to human health authorities.

Author Biographies

U Molini, University of Namibia

Department of Para-Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, University of Namibia and Department of Biotechnology, Central Veterinary Laboratory, Namibia

G Franzo, University of Padova

Department of Animal Medicine, Production and Health, University of Padova, Italy

I Rautenbach, University of Namibia

Department of Para-Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, University of Namibia, Namibia

H V Otto, University of Namibia

Department of Para-Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, University of Namibia, Namibia

S Khaiseb, Central Veterinary Laboratory

Department of Biotechnology, Central Veterinary Laboratory, Namibia

A Di Gennaro, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise G. Caporale, Teramo, Italy

C Ntahonshikira , University of Namibia

Department of Para-Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, University of Namibia, Namibia

I Baines, University of Namibia

Department of Production Animal Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Namibia, Namibia

F Monaco, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise G. Caporale, Teramo, Italy

G Savini, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise G. Caporale, Teramo, Italy

N D’Alterio, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale

Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise G. Caporale, Teramo, Italy

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Published

2022-04-19

Issue

Section

Original Research