Ecological and subject-level drivers of interepidemic Rift Valley fever virus exposure in humans and livestock in Northern Kenya
Nearly a century after the first reports of Rift Valley fever (RVF) were documented in Kenya, questions on the transmission dynamics of the disease remain. Specifically, data on viral maintenance in the quiescent years between epidemics is limited. We implemented a cross-sectional study in northern Kenya to determine the seroprevalence, risk factors, and ecological predictors of RVF in humans and livestock during an interepidemic period. Six hundred seventy-six human and 1,864 livestock samples were screened for anti-RVF Immunoglobulin G (IgG). Out of the 1,864 livestock samples tested for IgG, a subset of 1,103 samples was randomly selected for additional testing to detect the presence of anti-RVFV Immunoglobulin M (IgM). The anti-RVF virus (RVFV) IgG seropositivity in livestock and humans was 21.7% and 28.4%, respectively. RVFV IgM was detected in 0.4% of the livestock samples. Participation in the slaughter of livestock and age were positively associated with RVFV exposure in humans, while age was a significant factor in livestock. We detected significant interaction between rainfall and elevation's influence on livestock seropositivity, while in humans, elevation was negatively associated with RVF virus exposure. The linear increase of human and livestock exposure with age suggests an endemic transmission cycle, further corroborated by the detection of IgM antibodies in livestock.