Publications

Vertical transmission of Rift Valley Fever Virus without detectable maternal viremia

Antonis, A.F.G.; Kortekaas, J.A.; Kant-Eenbergen, H.C.M.; Vloet, R.P.M.; Vogel-Brink, A.; Stockhofe, N.; Moormann, R.J.M.

Summary

Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is a zoonotic bunyavirus that causes abortions in domesticated ruminants. Sheep breeds exotic to endemic areas are reportedly the most susceptible to RVFV infection. Within the scope of a risk assessment program of The Netherlands, we investigated the susceptibility of a native breed of gestating sheep to RVFV infection. Ewes were infected experimentally during the first, second, or third trimester of gestation. Mortality was high among ewes that developed viremia. Four of 11 inoculated ewes, however, did not develop detectable viremia nor clinical signs and did not seroconvert for immunoglobulin G (IgG) or IgM antibodies. Surprisingly, these ewes were found to contain viral RNA in maternal and fetal organs, and the presence of live virus in fetal organs was demonstrated by virus