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A Spatially Explicit Metapopulation Model and Cattle Trade Analysis Suggests Key Determinants for the Recurrent Circulation of Rift Valley Fever Virus in a Pilot Area of Madagascar Highlands

Abstract : Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a vector-borne zoonotic disease that causes high morbidity and mortality in ruminants. In 2008-2009, a RVF outbreak affected the whole Madagascar island, including the Anjozorobe district located in Madagascar highlands. An entomological survey showed the absence of Aedes among the potential RVF virus (RVFV) vector species identified in this area, and an overall low abundance of mosquitoes due to unfavorable climatic conditions during winter. No serological nor virological sign of infection was observed in wild terrestrial mammals of the area, suggesting an absence of wild RVF virus (RVFV) reservoir. However, a three years serological and virological follow-up in cattle showed a recurrent RVFV circulation. The objective of this study was to understand the key determinants of this unexpected recurrent transmission. To achieve this goal, a spatial deterministic discrete-time metapopulation model combined with cattle trade network was designed and parameterized to reproduce the local conditions using observational data collected in the area. Three scenarios that could explain the RVFV recurrent circulation in the area were analyzed: (i) RVFV overwintering thanks to a direct transmission between cattle when viraemic cows calve, vectors being absent during the winter, (ii) a low level vector-based circulation during winter thanks to a residual vector population, without direct transmission between cattle, (iii) combination of both above mentioned mechanisms. Multi-model inference methods resulted in a model incorporating both a low level RVFV winter vector-borne transmission and a direct transmission between animals when viraemic cows calve. Predictions satisfactorily reproduced field observations, 84% of cattle infections being attributed to vector-borne transmission, and 16% to direct transmission. These results appeared robust according to the sensitivity analysis. Interweaving between agricultural works in rice fields, seasonality of vector proliferation, and cattle exchange practices could be a key element for understanding RVFV circulation in this area of Madagascar highlands.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03057074
Contributor : Didier Fontenille <>
Submitted on : Friday, December 11, 2020 - 3:53:12 PM
Last modification on : Friday, March 5, 2021 - 3:36:53 PM

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Gaëlle Nicolas, Véronique Chevalier, Luciano Michaë L Tantely, Didier Fontenille, Benoît Durand. A Spatially Explicit Metapopulation Model and Cattle Trade Analysis Suggests Key Determinants for the Recurrent Circulation of Rift Valley Fever Virus in a Pilot Area of Madagascar Highlands. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Public Library of Science, 2014, 8 (12), pp.e3346. ⟨10.1371/journal⟩. ⟨hal-03057074⟩

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