First report of tick-borne encephalitis seroprevalence in sheep in North Africa
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Mediha Khamassi Khbou, Rihab Romdhane, Asma Foughali, Limam Sassi, Vanessa Suin, Mourad Rekik, M’hammed Benzarti. (30/12/2019). First report of tick-borne encephalitis seroprevalence in sheep in North Africa.
Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEv), is a flavivirus, that circulates in complex cycle involving small mammals as amplifying hosts and ticks as vectors and reservoirs. Current study aimed to investigate the presence of TBEv in Tunisian sheep. A sample of 263 sheep, were selected from 6 localities where I. ricinus, is well established. Sera were screened using ELISA for TBEv IgG detection. Positive (n=1) and borderline (n=17) sera to ELISA were confirmed by seroneutralization (SNT). The SNT showed one positive serum among the 18 tested giving an infection prevalence of 0.38% (95%CI: [0.07%–2.12%]). To our knowledge, this is the first report of TBE seroprevalence in North Africa and further studies are needed to characterize the epidemiology of TBEv in the Tunisia, particularly, the role of both domestic and wild animals and the presence of human cases.