Seroreactivity to Chikungunya and West Nile Viruses in Rwandan Blood Donors

Sep 26, 2019; Mary Ann Liebert Inc. Publishers.


Introduction: Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and West Nile virus (WNV) have previously been reported from several African countries, including those bordering Rwanda where they may have originated. However, there have been no serosurveillance reports from Rwanda regarding these two viral pathogens. In this article, we present the first study of immunoglobulin G (IgG) seroreactivity of CHIKV and WNV in Rwandan blood donor samples. Methods: Blood donors from Rwanda (n = 874) and Sweden (n = 199) were tested for IgG reactivity against CHIKV, using an in-house enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with the E1 envelope protein fused with p62 as antigen, and against WNV using a commercial kit. Data on mosquito distribution were obtained from the 2012 assessment of yellow fever virus circulation in Rwanda. Results: Seroreactivity to CHIKV was high in Rwanda (63.0%), when compared with Swedish donors, where only 8.5% were IgG positive. However, a cross-reactivity to O'nyong'nyong virus in neutralization test was noted in Rwandan donors. No significant difference in WNV seroreactivity was found (10.4% for Rwandan and 14.1% for Swedish donors). The relatively high seroreactivity to WNV among Swedish donors could partly be explained by cross-reactivity with tick-borne encephalitis virus prevalent in Sweden. Donors from the Eastern Province of Rwanda had the highest IgG reactivity to the two investigated viruses (86.7% for CHIKV and 33.3% for WNV). Five genera of mosquitoes were found in Rwanda where Culex was the most common (82.5%). The vector of CHIKV, Aedes, accounted for 9.6% of mosquitoes and this species was most commonly found in the Eastern Province. Conclusions: Our results showed high seroreactivity to CHIKV in Rwandan donors. The highest IgG reactivity to CHIKV, and to WNV, was found in the Eastern Province, the area reporting the highest number of mosquito vectors for these two viruses. Infection control by eliminating mosquito-breeding sites in population-dense areas is recommended, especially in eastern Rwanda.

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