[Source: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]
OPEN ACCESS / PEER-REVIEWED / RESEARCH ARTICLE
Serological evidence of Ebola virus exposure in dogs from affected communities in Liberia: A preliminary report
Brien K. Haun, Varney Kamara, Abigail S. Dweh , Kianalei Garalde-Machida , Saymajunkon S. E. Forkay , Melissa Takaaze , Madhuri Namekar, Teri Ann S. Wong, Ayesha E. R. Bell-Gam Woto, Peter Humphreys, Ophelia I. Weeks, Mosoka P. Fallah, John M. Berestecky, Vivek R. Nerurkar, Axel T. Lehrer
Published: July 22, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007614 / This is an uncorrected proof.
Filoviruses such as Ebola virus (EBOV) cause outbreaks of viral hemorrhagic fevers for which no FDA-approved vaccines or drugs are available. The 2014–2016 EBOV outbreak in West Africa infected approximately 30,000 people, killing more than 11,000 and affecting thousands more in areas still suffering from the effects of civil wars. Sierra Leone and Liberia reported EBOV cases in every county demonstrating the efficient spread of this highly contagious virus in the well-connected societies of West Africa. In communities, canines are often in contact with people while scavenging for food, which may include sickly bush animals or, as reported from the outbreak, EBOV infected human bodies and excrement. Therefore, dogs may serve as sentinel animals for seroprevalence studies of emerging infectious viruses. Further, due to their proximity to humans, they may have important One Health implications while offering specimens, which may be easier to obtain than human serum samples. Previous reports on detecting EBOV exposure in canines have been limited. Herein we describe a pilot project to detect IgG-responses directed against multiple filovirus and Lassa virus (LASV) antigens in dogs from EBOV affected communities in Liberia. We used a multiplex Luminex-based microsphere immunoassay (MIA) to detect dog IgG binding to recombinant filovirus antigens or LASV glycoprotein (GP) in serum from dogs that were old enough to be present during the EBOV outbreak. We identified 47 (73%) of 64 dog serum samples as potentially exposed to filoviruses and up to 100% of the dogs from some communities were found to have elevated levels of EBOV antigen-binding IgG titers. The multiplex MIA described in this study provides evidence for EBOV IgG antibodies present in dogs potentially exposed to the virus during the 2014–16 outbreak in Liberia. These data support the feasibility of canines as EBOV sentinels and provides evidence that seroprevalence studies in dogs can be conducted using suitable assays even under challenging field conditions. Further studies are warranted to collect data and to define the role canines may play in transmission or detection of emerging infectious diseases.
Ebola Virus (EBOV) and its related species cause hemorrhagic fevers for which there are no FDA- approved treatments. The 2014–2016 EBOV outbreak in West Africa infected over 30,000 people, killing more than 11,000. This was the largest outbreak to date and Liberia was the unfortunate epicenter. In Liberia, EBOV cases were reported in every county. While preventative and therapeutic agent developments have received much attention, prophylactic measures involving Liberian communities have seen much less attention. In Liberia, dogs may warrant surveillance as they routinely interact with animals of the forest and people within communities. Despite scavenging the excrements and even bodies of infected individuals during the outbreak, dogs reportedly remained asymptomatic for EBOV. In collaboration with the University of Liberia and the Leon Quist Ledlum Central Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory of Liberia, our team used a multiplex Luminex-based assay to detect dog antibodies (IgG) binding recombinant filovirus antigens or LASV glycoprotein in samples from animals that were present during the EBOV outbreak. We identified several communities in which 100% of dogs showed IgG responses reactive to one or more filovirus antigens. This preliminary report establishes the feasibility of conducting EBOV seroprevalence studies in resource poor outbreak sites in Africa using modern and economical serological assay techniques.
Citation: Haun BK, Kamara V, Dweh AS, Garalde-Machida K, Forkay SSE, Takaaze M, et al. (2019) Serological evidence of Ebola virus exposure in dogs from affected communities in Liberia: A preliminary report. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 13(7): e0007614. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007614
Editor: Anne W. Rimoin, University of California, Los Angeles, UNITED STATES
Received: January 24, 2019; Accepted: July 8, 2019; Published: July 22, 2019
Copyright: © 2019 Haun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Data Availability: All relevant data are within the manuscript.
Funding: This research was supported by institutional funds and research grants (R01AI119185 and R01AI132323) to ATL, infrastructure support by grant (P30GM114737) from the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, National Institute of General Medical Sciences to ATL and VRN, and grant (D71TW010434) to OIW and VRN from the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health (NIH). KGM and MT were supported by the Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) program grant (T37MD008636) from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, NIH. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Keywords: Ebola; Filovirus; Serology; Seroprevalence; Dogs; Liberia.