A Spatial Analysis of Rift Valley Fever Virus Seropositivity in Domestic Ruminants in Tanzania

PLoS One. 2015 Jul 10;10(7):e0131873. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131873. eCollection 2015.


Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an acute arthropod-borne viral zoonotic disease primarily occurring in Africa. Since RVF-like disease was reported in Tanzania in 1930, outbreaks of the disease have been reported mainly from the eastern ecosystem of the Great Rift Valley. This cross-sectional study was carried out to describe the variation in RVF virus (RVFV) seropositivity in domestic ruminants between selected villages in the eastern and western Rift Valley ecosystems in Tanzania, and identify potential risk factors. Three study villages were purposively selected from each of the two Rift Valley ecosystems. Serum samples from randomly selected domestic ruminants (n = 1,435) were tested for the presence of specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) and M (IgM), using RVF enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay methods. Mixed effects logistic regression modelling was used to investigate the association between potential risk factors and RVFV seropositivity. The overall RVFV seroprevalence (n = 1,435) in domestic ruminants was 25.8% and species specific seroprevalence was 29.7%, 27.7% and 22.0% in sheep (n = 148), cattle (n = 756) and goats (n = 531), respectively. The odds of seropositivity were significantly higher in animals sampled from the villages in the eastern than those in the western Rift Valley ecosystem (OR = 1.88, CI: 1.41, 2.51; p<0.001), in animals sampled from villages with soils of good than those with soils of poor water holding capacity (OR = 1.97; 95% CI: 1.58, 3.02; p< 0.001), and in animals which had been introduced than in animals born within the herd (OR = 5.08, CI: 2.74, 9.44; p< 0.001). Compared with animals aged 1-2 years, those aged 3 and 4-5 years had 3.40 (CI: 2.49, 4.64; p< 0.001) and 3.31 (CI: 2.27, 4.82, p< 0.001) times the odds of seropositivity. The findings confirm exposure to RVFV in all the study villages, but with a higher prevalence in the study villages from the eastern Rift Valley ecosystem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / blood
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cattle Diseases / virology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Female
  • Goat Diseases / blood
  • Goat Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Goat Diseases / virology
  • Goats
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Rift Valley Fever / blood
  • Rift Valley Fever / epidemiology*
  • Rift Valley Fever / virology
  • Rift Valley fever virus / immunology
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Sheep
  • Sheep Diseases / blood
  • Sheep Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sheep Diseases / virology
  • Tanzania / epidemiology


  • Antibodies, Viral