Experimental infection of young adult European breed sheep with Rift Valley fever virus field isolates

Nuria Busquets, F. Xavier, Raquel Martín-Folgar, Gema Lorenzo, Iván Galindo-Cardiel, Bernat Pérez Del Val, Raquel Rivas, Javier Iglesias, Fernando Rodríguez, David Solanes, Mariano Domingo, Alejandro Brun

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44 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing interest in Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) and its potential impact on naive animal populations deserve revisiting experimental reproduction of RVFV infection, particularly in those animal breeds for which no data about their susceptibility to RVFV infection have ever been recorded. In this study we show the susceptibility of 9-10 weeks old European sheep (Ripollesa breed) to RVFV infection, showing a mild, subacute form of disease. Four different viral isolates efficiently replicated in vivo after subcutaneous experimental inoculation, and consistent viral loads in blood and virus shedding (variable in length depending on the RVFV isolate used) were detected, showing horizontal transmission to a noninfected, sentinel lamb. RVFV infection caused transient pyrexia in adult lambs and no other clinical symptoms were observed, with the exception of corneal opacity ("blue eye") found in 3 out of 16 subcutaneously inoculated sheep. In conclusion, adult sheep from this European breed are readily infected with RVFV without apparent clinical manifestations. Copyright 2010, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-696
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010


  • European lambs
  • Experimental infection
  • Immune response
  • Rift Valley fever virus
  • Viral transmission


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