Transmission patterns of African horse sickness and equine encephalosis viruses in South African donkeys.

CC Lord, GJ Venter, P. S Mellor, JT Paweska, Mark E Woolhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


African horse sickness (AHS) and equine encephalosis (EE) viruses are endemic to southern Africa. AHS virus causes severe epidemics when introduced to naive equine populations, resulting in severe restrictions on the movement of equines between AHS-positive and negative countries. Recent zoning of South Africa has created an AHS-free zone to facilitate equine movement, but the transmission dynamics of these viruses are not fully understood. Here, we present further analyses of serosurveys of donkeys in South Africa conducted in 1983-5 and in 1993-5. Age-prevalence data are used to derive estimates of the force of infection, A. For both viruses, A was highest in the northeastern part of the country and declined towards the southwest. In most of the country, EE virus had a higher transmission rate than AHS. The force of infection increased for EE virus between 1985 and 1993, but decreased for AHS virus. Both viruses showed high levels of variation in transmission between districts within the same province, particularly in areas of intermediate transmission. These data emphasize the focal nature of these viruses, and indicate areas where further data will assist in understanding the geographical variation in transmission.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-75
Number of pages11
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2002


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