Dengue 2 infection in wild caught papio anubis (olive Baboons) and chlorocebus aethiops (african green Monkey) from selected regions of Kenya
Ambala, Peris Auma
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Dengue viruses, family Flaviviridae and genus Flavivirus occur as four antigenically distinct serotypes denoted as dengue virus 1, 2, 3, 4 (DENY-I, 2, 3, 4). The four serotypes are known to broadly infect different vertebrate hosts including humans, wild animals and various species of non-human primates (NHPs). Despite the fact that NHPs have increasingly been implicated as potential sources of emerging zoonotic viral diseases, there is no available scientific data on sylvatic dengue virus surveillance in Kenya. The present study investigated the sero-prevalence of DENY-2 exposure and characterized DENY serotypes circulating in NHPs from Laikipia, Aberdares, Kajiado, Kibwezi, Kitale, Nairobi and Namanga regions. A total of 287 wild-caught NHPs, comprising of 115 Olive baboons (Papio anubis) and 172 Africa Green monkey-AGM (Chlorocebus aethiops) were sampled. Sera prepared from the 287 blood samples were tested for anti-dengue viral immunoglobulin gamma (IgG) antibody using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Samples which were positive for anti-dengue IgG were subsequently subjected to a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test with specific primers targeting the capsid and pre-membrane genes of the virus. The sero-prevalence of dengue virus exposure was 35.7% (41/115) in P anubis and 39.5% (68/172) C. aethiops. RT-PCR confirmed that 1.7% (2/115) P anubis and 2.3% (4/172) C. aethiops were positive for dengue virus. The 2 baboons and 4 AGMs were from Laikipia, Kakamega, Kibwezi and Kitale respectively. Chi-square test indicated no statistical significance in sero-prevalence (P = 0.537) results between the species. In conclusion, this study provides strong evidence of dengue virus infection among P anubis and C. aethiops in Kenya. Although this epidemiological study indicates high dengue exposure in NHPs, there was significantly low active infection as evidenced by PCR results. My conclusion is that sylvatic dengue viruses 2 circulates in non-human primates found in Kenya. I recommend that the country should strengthen its surveillance on sylvati cengue viruses which will likely become a serious public-health problem in the near future in human population that live in close proximity to animals.