Absence of Molecular Evidence of Filovirus Circulating In Bats and Rodents in Laikipia North Sub-County, Kenya: A Cross Sectional Study
Shields, Lindsey Mccrickard
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In the recent decade, pathogenic zoonotic viruses have emerged in different geographical locations almost annually. These changes have led to new complex interactions between humans, animals and the environment, creating unique opportunities for pathogens unique opportunities to pass between hosts. Most emerging pathogens are RNA viruses such as filovirus. Numerous factors such as anthropogenic activities, changes in local ecosystem and climate change have contributed to this spillover. While Kenya has not reported any filovirus outbreaks in humans, a filovirus (i.e Bombali Ebola virus) have been detected in Kenyan bats, which have been implicated as reservoir hosts. The goal of this study was to detect and molecularly characterize known and novel filovirus circulating in bats and rodents in Laikipia North sub-County, Laikipia County, Kenya. In May 2018, a total of 477 samples (blood, oral and rectal swabs) were collected from 159 bats and 159 rodents in Laikipia North sub-County, Kenya. Ribonucleic acid was extracted from all samples and screened using consensus polymerase chain reaction targeting the long-gene of filovirus. All samples were negative. These results suggest that circulation of filovirus was uncommon during the month of May, 2018 in rodents and bats from Laikipia North sub-County. Considering our findings, future sampling should be conducted both longitudinally and with significantly larger sample sizes for a more in depth assessment of the prevalence of filoviruses in bats within the region studied.