Incidence of Sand Fly Fever Among Swedish United Nations Soldiers on Cyprus During 1985

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  • National Bacteriological Laboratory, Karolinska Institute, National Defense Research Establishment, Stockholm, Sweden

Members of a Swedish United Nations (UN) battalion of 362 soldiers were bled just before and immediately after their 6 month tour of duty in Cyprus during 1985. Sera were tested for presence of specific antibodies to sand fly fever (SF) Sicilian, SF Naples, and Toscana viruses by both indirect immunofluorescence antibody test (IFT) and plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT). Of 298 serum pairs available, seroconversion was noted in 11 soldiers: 7 cases for SF Sicilian, 3 for SF Naples, and 1 for Toscana virus. IFT and PRNT revealed identical results. Seroconversion was associated with clinical disease in 7 out of 7, 2 out of 3, and 0 out of 1 for SF Sicilian, SF Naples, and Toscana infections, respectively. Virus isolation was attempted on acute-phase sera collected from febrile patients. Of 5 such acute-phase sera from patients with serologically verified SF, virus was recovered from 2: 1 strain of SF Sicilian virus and 1 strain of SF Naples virus.