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Cross-Sectional Survey of Rift Valley Fever Virus Exposure in Bodhei Village Located in a Transitional Coastal Forest Habitat in Lamu County, Kenya

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  • Department of Pathology, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya; Vector-Borne Diseases Control Unit, Ministry of Health, Nairobi, Kenya; Office of Director of Health, Garissa County, Kenya; Department of Ophthalmology, Thika Level 5 Hospital, Ministry of Health, Thika, Kenya; Center for Immunobiology and Vaccine Development, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, California; Center for Global Health and Diseases, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

Few studies have focused on Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) transmission in less arid, transitional landscapes surrounding known high-risk regions. The objective of this study was to identify evidence of RVFV exposure in Bodhei Village in a forested area at the edge of the RVFV-epidemic Garissa region. In a household cluster-based survey conducted between epidemics in early 2006, 211 participants were enrolled. Overall seroprevalence for anti-RVFV was high (18%) and comparable with rates in the more arid, dense brush regions farther north. Seroprevalence of adults was 28%, whereas that of children was significantly lower (3%; P < 0.001); the youngest positive child was age 3 years. Males were more likely to be seropositive than females (25% versus 11%; P < 0.01), and animal husbandry activities (birthing, sheltering, and butchering) were strongly associated with seropositivity. The results confirm that significant RVFV transmission occurs outside of recognized high-risk areas and independent of known epidemic periods.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Charles H. King, Center for Global Health and Diseases, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 2109 Adelbert Road, Cleveland, OH 44106-7286. E-mail: chk@cwru.edu† These authors contributed equally.

Financial support: This work was supported by the Kenya Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and for laboratory testing, funding from US National Institutes of Health Grants U01AI45473-S1, 1KL2RR024990, and T32AI52067 and the Robert E. Shope Fellowship in Infectious Diseases Award.

Authors' addresses: Samuel Muiruri, Vector Borne Diseases Control Unit, Ministry of Health, Nairobi, Kenya, E-mail: smuiruri37@yahoo.com. Ephantus W. Kabiru, School of Public Health, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya, E-mail: ewkabiru@yahoo.com. Eric M. Muchiri, Meru University of Science and Technology, Meru, Kenya, E-mail: ericmmuchiri@gmail.com. Hassan Hussein, Office of Director of Health, Garissa County, Kenya, E-mail: hhnuriye@yahoo.com. Frederick Kagondu, Department of Ophthalmology, Thika Level 5 Hospital, Thika, Kenya, E-mail: fkagondu@yahoo.com. A. Desirée LaBeaud, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, E-mail: dlabeaud@stanford.edu. Charles H. King, Center for Global Health and Diseases, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, E-mail: chk@cwru.edu.

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