Climate change and globalization continue to provide exotic arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) opportunities to expand their habitats. The successful introductions and spread of Bluetongue virus (BTV) in 2006 and the Schmallenberg virus (SBV) in 2011 in The Netherlands endorse this notion. Whereas BTV and SBV are stricktly veterinary pathogens, many arboviruses also cause disease in humans. An example of such a so-called zoonotic arbovirus is Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV). RVFV is endemic in most African countries and the Arabian Peninsula and causes recurrent epizootics and epidemics in these areas. Lambs under three weeks of age do not survive the infection and infection of pregnant ewes generally results in abortion. The mortality rate among adult sheep is estimated at 20%. While sheep are most susceptible to the virus, also other ruminant species are susceptible to disease. For example, infection of calves results in a mortality rate of 70%. Human infection usually results in mild symptoms, but about 1% of infected humans suffer from serious complications such as hemorrhagic fever and encephalitis. The mortality rate among people who develop these complications ranges from 10-40 %. RVFV is spread by various species of mosquitoes that are also found in the Netherlands. Previous work has however demonstrated that vector competence depends on many environmental and host factors and that only vector competence studies can provide insight into the true competence of a given mosquito species. The aim of this project is to investigate whether Dutch mosquito species can be infected by RVFV and if these mosquitoes are capable of transmitting the virus to susceptible animals.
|Effective start/end date
|1/01/13 → 31/12/13