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Highlights 2020: The risk of a Rift Valley Fever epidemic in Senegal

Every week, find in focus a BIOEPAR highlight for the year 2020!

Highlights  2020: The risk of a Rift Valley Fever epidemic in Senegal
It's time for a retrospective: the year 2020 has been greatly affected by the health crisis, but the daily life of the unit has been punctuated by many events that have allowed us to maintain a link between the members of the laboratory, and to continue to move forward together. Each week, we will share a highlight of the past year!

Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is transmitted by mosquitoes, mainly to cattle, causing waves of abortions and high mortality in younger animals. It is a zoonosis, the severe form of which can be fatal to humans. RVF is on the WHO's list of priority emerging diseases. A mathematical model has been developed to estimate the epidemic potential of RVF in northern Senegal, a region that has been regularly affected since the late 1980s. It is in September that the introduction of the virus can cause the most secondary cases and allow an epidemic to start. The locations most at risk of becoming an outbreak vary from year to year. In these at-risk locations, increasing cattle immunity would be more effective in reducing virus transmission than increasing small ruminant immunity. On the other hand, mosquito densities are such that reducing their population is not a viable way of reducing risk. This work will be completed by integrating the spatio-temporal transmission of the virus via seasonal animal mobility. Testing climatic scenarios linked to global changes would also make it possible to anticipate the risk at Europe's doorstep.

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Mapping the epidemic potential of Rift Valley fever in northern Senegal requires the combination of complementary input data: rainfall, temperature, vector population dynamics (Aedes vexans arabiensisCulex poicilipes and Culex tritaeniorhyncus), and animal density (cattle, small ruminants).