Seroprevalence of IgG Antibodies Against Multiple Arboviruses in Bats from Cameroon, Guinea, and the Democratic Republic of Congo

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2022 Apr;22(4):252-262. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2021.0076. Epub 2022 Apr 11.


Background: Emergence of mosquito-borne arboviruses has caused significant public health burden. The life cycle of arboviruses comprises sylvatic and urban cycles, including a wildlife reservoir, a human host, and an arthropod vector. However, many questions remain on the sylvatic cycles of arboviruses. In this study, we investigate the prevalence of IgG antibodies to arboviruses of public health importance in African bats. Material and Methods: We collected dried blood spots from bats in Cameroon, Guinea, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). To detect IgG antibodies to 10 antigens of 6 arboviruses (Dengue, Zika, West Nile, Usutu, Chikungunya, and O'nyong nyong viruses), we adapted a previously validated multiplex detection assay based on the Luminex technology. Results: We tested samples from 2579 bats, representing 1917 frugivorous and 641 insectivorous bats distributed in 7 families and 21 species. Overall, 218/2579 (8.45%) bat samples reacted with at least 1 of the 10 antigens tested. The highest prevalence was observed against Usutu virus with 2.3% (59/2579), followed by 1.9% (49/2579) and 1.35% (35/2579) for the Dengue virus serotypes 4 and 3, respectively. The global seroprevalence varied by country and collection site: 11% (151/1376) in Cameroon, 3.5% (20/565) in DRC, and 7.3% (47/638) in Guinea. The highest rates were observed in Hypsignathus monstrosus (17.9%), Rousettus aegyptiacus (16.4%), and Eidolon helvum (10.7%), and in species from the insectivorous Molossidae family (7.8-8.9%). Finally, we observed changes in seroprevalence over the year in E. helvum and H. monstrosus colonies, which could be related to population structure. Conclusion: On more than 2500 bat samples tested, we showed variable IgG seroprevalences against multiple arboviruses. Overall, the prevalence of IgG antibodies of 8.45% against arboviruses found in bats suggest that they could play a role in arboviruses cycles in the wild, in addition to other animal species.

Keywords: Africa; Luminex; antibodies; arboviruses; bats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Arboviruses*
  • Cameroon / epidemiology
  • Chiroptera*
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo / epidemiology
  • Guinea
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Mosquito Vectors
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Zika Virus Infection* / veterinary
  • Zika Virus*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G