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Description and analysis of the cattle trade network in the Madagascar highlands: Potential role in the diffusion of Rift Valley fever virus

Nicolas G., Durand B., Duboz R., Rakotondravao R., Chevalier V.. 2013. Acta Tropica, 126 (1) : p. 19-27.

DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2012.12.013

In 2008-2009 a Rift Valley Fever (RVF) outbreak occurred in the Anjozorobe area, a temperate and moun-tainous area of the Madagascar highlands. The results of a serosurvey conducted in 2009 suggested recurrent circulation of RVF virus (RVFV) in this area and potential involvement of the cattle trade in RVFV circulation. The objective of this study was to describe the cattle trade network of the area and analyse the link between network structure and RVFV circulation. Five hundred and sixteen animals that tested negative in 2009 were sampled again in 2010. The 2009-2010 cattle-level seroconversion rate was estimated at 7% (95% CI: 5-10%). Trade data from 386 breeders of 48 villages were collected and analysed using social network analysis methodology, nodes being villages and ties being any movements of cattle connecting villages. The specific practice of cattle barter, known as kapsile, that involves frequent contacts between cattle of two breeders, was observed in addition to usual trade. Trade data were analysed using a logistic model, the occurrence of seroconversion at the village level being the outcome variable and the network centrality measures being the predictors. A negative association was observed between the occurrence of seroconversion in the village and introduction of cattle by trade (p = 0.03), as well as the distance to the nearest water point (p = 0.002). Conversely, the practice of kapsile, was a seroconversion risk factor (p = 0.007). The kapsile practice may be the support for inter-village RVFV circulation whereas the trade network is probably rather implicated in the introduction of RVFV to the area from other parts of Madagascar. The negative association of the distance to the nearest water point suggests that after RVFV introduction, a substantial part of transmission may be due to vectors.

Mots-clés : virus de la fièvre de la vallée du rift; bétail; zébu; circuit de commercialisation; surveillance épidémiologique; transmission des maladies; enquête pathologique; madagascar

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