Impact and Epidemiological Investigations into the Incursion and Spread of Peste des Petits Ruminants in the Comoros Archipelago: An Increased Threat to Surrounding Islands

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Late October 2012, a great number of deaths of unknown origin occurred in goat herds in the suburbs of Ngazidja, located in the Comoros archipelago. Few weeks later, laboratory testing requested by the animal health authorities resulted in the identification of peste des petits ruminants (PPR) infection. Notably, the Index case could be attributed to a sick goat imported from Tanzania. Viral isolation was successful from the lungs leading to the whole N nucleoprotein gene sequencing. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the strain belongs to the lineage III which includes strains of eastern African origin. In addition, to evaluate the impact of PPR on the Comorian indigenous domesticated ruminant population, a cross-sectional PPR serological survey was conducted between April and July 2013. A low overall PPRV antibody prevalence 2.24% (95% CI [1.38; 3.08]) was detected with a Grande Comore prevalence of 3.34% (IC = [2.09; 4.63]) with a limited spread of the disease mainly due to farm practices such as limited contacts between farm animals and rapid slaughtering of sick animals.

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