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Seroprevalence of West Nile and Usutu viruses in military working horses and dogs, Morocco, 2012: Dog as an alternative WNV sentinel species?

Durand B., Haskouri H., Lowenski S., Vachiéry N., Beck C., Lecollinet S.. 2016. Epidemiology and Infection, 144 (9) : p. 1857-1864.

DOI: 10.1017/S095026881600011X

A serosurvey of 349 military working horses and 231 military working dogs was conducted in ten sites in Morocco in 2012. This survey revealed a high level of exposure of these animals to flaviviruses: seroprevalence rates of 60% in horses and of 62% in dogs were observed using a competitive West Nile virus (WNV) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA). Seroneutralization test results showed that the majority of cELISA-positive results were due to exposure to WNV. Further assays conducted in vaccinated horses with a DIVA (Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated Animals) test indicated that anti-WNV antibodies had been stimulated through WNV natural infection. Moreover, in both species, seroneutralization tests suggested an exposure to Usutu virus (USUV). Data analysis did not show any significant difference of cELISA seropositivity risk between horses and dogs. Dogs may thus represent an interesting alternative to equines for the serological surveillance of WNV or USUV circulation, especially in areas where equine vaccination precludes passive surveillance (based on the detection of West Nile fever cases) in horses.

Mots-clés : virus des animaux; flavivirus; animal de travail; cheval; chien; enquête pathologique; surveillance épidémiologique; sérologie; test elisa; technique immunologique; maroc; fièvre du nil occidental

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