Seroprevalence of West Nile virus in Khuzestan province, southwestern Iran, 2016–2017
Masoumeh Kalantari1, Mostafa Salehi-Vaziri2, Mohammad Hassan Pouriayevali3, Vahid Baniasadi3, Shokrollah Salmanzadeh4, Morteza Kharat5, Mehdi Fazlalipour3
1 Biology Department, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran
2 Research Center for Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases; Department of Arboviruses and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (National Reference Laboratory), Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran
3 Department of Arboviruses and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (National Reference Laboratory), Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran
4 Health Research Institute, Infectious and Tropical Diseases Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran
5 Health Research Institute, Laboratory Health Center, Faculty of Medicine, Ahvaz, Iran
Dr Mehdi Fazlalipour
Department of Arboviruses and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (National Reference Laboratory), Pasteur Institute of Iran, 69 Pasteur Ave, Postcode: 1316943551, Tehran
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background & objectives: West Nile virus (WNV) is a neurotropic Flavivirus transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. As there is no specific antiviral treatment or approved vaccine against WNV, control and prevention of the infection is the best strategy to reduce the burden of WNV-related diseases. The circulation of WNV has been indicated in several regions of Iran including the Khuzestan province. Considering the complex ecology of WNV, the latest data are necessary for the implementation of preventive measures. Therefore, the present study was designed to provide updated information on the seroepidemiology of WNV in Khuzestan province.
Methods: A total of 408 sera were taken from volunteers living in Khuzestan. The presence of specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody against WNV was tested by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method. All the data and participants’ demographic information were analyzed by SPSS and Esri’s ArcMap GIS software programs.
Results: Anti-WNV IgG antibody was detected in 97 (23.8%) out of the 408 tested sera. The highest seropositivity rate was observed in cases aged between 20–29 yr and the lowest seropositivity rate was seen in those <19 yr of age (p = 0.001). There was no statistically significant association between WNV infection and gender, occupation, and educational level. The majority of positive cases were from the city of Ahvaz (47 cases, 48.4%) and Andimeshk (32 cases, 33%).
Interpretation & conclusion: This study supports the earlier findings suggesting the circulation of WNV in Khuzestan province. Therefore, the implementation of an integrated surveillance system and training of health care workers and general population regarding the infection would be valuable to reduce the burden of possible outbreaks.