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Author

Alan Kemp

Other affiliations: University of the Witwatersrand
Bio: Alan Kemp is an academic researcher from National Health Laboratory Service. The author has contributed to research in topics: Rift Valley fever & Outbreak. The author has an hindex of 24, co-authored 52 publications receiving 3328 citations. Previous affiliations of Alan Kemp include University of the Witwatersrand.


Papers
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This review presents the latest advances in RVF virus research and explains why safe, effective vaccines are still not freely available for protecting humans and livestock against the dramatic consequences of this virus.
Abstract: Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus is an arbovirus in the Bunyaviridae family that, from phylogenetic analysis, appears to have first emerged in the mid-19th century and was only identified at the begininning of the 1930s in the Rift Valley region of Kenya. Despite being an arbovirus with a relatively simple but temporally and geographically stable genome, this zoonotic virus has already demonstrated a real capacity for emerging in new territories, as exemplified by the outbreaks in Egypt (1977), Western Africa (1988) and the Arabian Peninsula (2000), or for re-emerging after long periods of silence as observed very recently in Kenya and South Africa. The presence of competent vectors in countries previously free of RVF, the high viral titres in viraemic animals and the global changes in climate, travel and trade all contribute to make this virus a threat that must not be neglected as the consequences of RVF are dramatic, both for human and animal health. In this review, we present the latest advances in RVF virus research. In spite of this renewed interest, aspects of the epidemiology of RVF virus are still not fully understood and safe, effective vaccines are still not freely available for protecting humans and livestock against the dramatic consequences of this virus. Rift Valley fever / molecular epidemiology / vector / pathogenesis / diagnostic

571 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Data indicate common Egyptian fruit bats can represent a major natural reservoir and source of Marburg virus with potential for spillover into humans.
Abstract: In July and September 2007, miners working in Kitaka Cave, Uganda, were diagnosed with Marburg hemorrhagic fever. The likely source of infection in the cave was Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) based on detection of Marburg virus RNA in 31/611 (5.1%) bats, virus-specific antibody in bat sera, and isolation of genetically diverse virus from bat tissues. The virus isolates were collected nine months apart, demonstrating long-term virus circulation. The bat colony was estimated to be over 100,000 animals using mark and re-capture methods, predicting the presence of over 5,000 virus-infected bats. The genetically diverse virus genome sequences from bats and miners closely matched. These data indicate common Egyptian fruit bats can represent a major natural reservoir and source of Marburg virus with potential for spillover into humans.

544 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The discovery of two tags at Python Cave from bats marked at Kitaka mine, together with the close genetic linkages evident between viruses detected in geographically distant locations, are consistent with R. aegyptiacus bats existing as a large meta-population with associated virus circulation over broad geographic ranges.
Abstract: Marburg virus (family Filoviridae) causes sporadic outbreaks of severe hemorrhagic disease in sub-Saharan Africa. Bats have been implicated as likely natural reservoir hosts based most recently on an investigation of cases among miners infected in 2007 at the Kitaka mine, Uganda, which contained a large population of Marburg virus-infected Rousettus aegyptiacus fruit bats. Described here is an ecologic investigation of Python Cave, Uganda, where an American and a Dutch tourist acquired Marburg virus infection in December 2007 and July 2008. More than 40,000 R. aegyptiacus were found in the cave and were the sole bat species present. Between August 2008 and November 2009, 1,622 bats were captured and tested for Marburg virus. Q-RT-PCR analysis of bat liver/spleen tissues indicated ~2.5% of the bats were actively infected, seven of which yielded Marburg virus isolates. Moreover, Q-RT-PCR-positive lung, kidney, colon and reproductive tissues were found, consistent with potential for oral, urine, fecal or sexual transmission. The combined data for R. aegyptiacus tested from Python Cave and Kitaka mine indicate low level horizontal transmission throughout the year. However, Q-RT-PCR data show distinct pulses of virus infection in older juvenile bats (~six months of age) that temporarily coincide with the peak twice-yearly birthing seasons. Retrospective analysis of historical human infections suspected to have been the result of discrete spillover events directly from nature found 83% (54/65) events occurred during these seasonal pulses in virus circulation, perhaps demonstrating periods of increased risk of human infection. The discovery of two tags at Python Cave from bats marked at Kitaka mine, together with the close genetic linkages evident between viruses detected in geographically distant locations, are consistent with R. aegyptiacus bats existing as a large meta-population with associated virus circulation over broad geographic ranges. These findings provide a basis for developing Marburg hemorrhagic fever risk reduction strategies.

325 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Marburg virus nucleic acid was found in 12 bats, antibodies were found in 2 species of these bats, but no live virus was isolated.
Abstract: To determine reservoir hosts for Marburg virus (MARV), we examined the fauna of a mine in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The mine was associated with a protracted outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever during 1998–2000. We found MARV nucleic acid in 12 bats, comprising 3.0%–3.6% of 2 species of insectivorous bat and 1 species of fruit bat. We found antibody to the virus in the serum of 9.7% of 1 of the insectivorous species and in 20.5% of the fruit bat species, but attempts to isolate virus were unsuccessful.

245 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Since multiple genetic variants of virus were identified, ongoing introduction of virus into the population helped perpetuate this outbreak, implying that reservoir hosts of Marburg virus inhabit caves, mines, or similar habitats.
Abstract: BACKGROUND An outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever was first observed in a gold-mining village in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in October 1998. METHODS We investigated the outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever most intensively in May and October 1999. Sporadic cases and short chains of human-to-human transmission continued to occur until September 2000. Suspected cases were identified on the basis of a case definition; cases were confirmed by the detection of virus antigen and nucleic acid in blood, cell culture, antibody responses, and immunohistochemical analysis. RESULTS A total of 154 cases (48 laboratory-confirmed and 106 suspected) were identified (case fatality rate, 83 percent); 52 percent of cases were in young male miners. Only 27 percent of these men reported having had contact with other affected persons, whereas 67 percent of patients who were not miners reported such contact (P<0.001). Most of the affected miners (94 percent) worked in an underground mine. Cessation of the outbreak coincided with flooding of the mine. Epidemiologic evidence of multiple introductions of infection into the population was substantiated by the detection of at least nine genetically distinct lineages of virus in circulation during the outbreak. CONCLUSIONS Marburg hemorrhagic fever can have a very high case fatality rate. Since multiple genetic variants of virus were identified, ongoing introduction of virus into the population helped perpetuate this outbreak. The findings imply that reservoir hosts of Marburg virus inhabit caves, mines, or similar habitats.

234 citations


Cited by
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Ebola virus infections are characterised by immune suppression and a systemic inflammatory response that causes impairment of the vascular, coagulation, and immune systems, leading to multiorgan failure and shock, and thus, in some ways, resembling septic shock.

1,236 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is concluded that the rate of future zoonotic disease emergence or reemergence will be closely linked to the evolution of the agriculture–environment nexus, and available research inadequately addresses the complexity and interrelatedness of environmental, biological, economic, and social dimensions of zoonosis.
Abstract: A systematic review was conducted by a multidisciplinary team to analyze qualitatively best available scientific evidence on the effect of agricultural intensification and environmental changes on the risk of zoonoses for which there are epidemiological interactions between wildlife and livestock. The study found several examples in which agricultural intensification and/or environmental change were associated with an increased risk of zoonotic disease emergence, driven by the impact of an expanding human population and changing human behavior on the environment. We conclude that the rate of future zoonotic disease emergence or reemergence will be closely linked to the evolution of the agriculture–environment nexus. However, available research inadequately addresses the complexity and interrelatedness of environmental, biological, economic, and social dimensions of zoonotic pathogen emergence, which significantly limits our ability to predict, prevent, and respond to zoonotic disease emergence.

697 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A synthetic framework for animal-to-human transmission that integrates the relevant mechanisms reveals that all zoonotic pathogens must overcome a hierarchical series of barriers to cause spillover infections in humans.
Abstract: Zoonotic spillover, which is the transmission of a pathogen from a vertebrate animal to a human, presents a global public health burden but is a poorly understood phenomenon. Zoonotic spillover requires several factors to align, including the ecological, epidemiological and behavioural determinants of pathogen exposure, and the within-human factors that affect susceptibility to infection. In this Opinion article, we propose a synthetic framework for animal-to-human transmission that integrates the relevant mechanisms. This framework reveals that all zoonotic pathogens must overcome a hierarchical series of barriers to cause spillover infections in humans. Understanding how these barriers are functionally and quantitatively linked, and how they interact in space and time, will substantially improve our ability to predict or prevent spillover events. This work provides a foundation for transdisciplinary investigation of spillover and synthetic theory on zoonotic transmission.

613 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This review presents the latest advances in RVF virus research and explains why safe, effective vaccines are still not freely available for protecting humans and livestock against the dramatic consequences of this virus.
Abstract: Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus is an arbovirus in the Bunyaviridae family that, from phylogenetic analysis, appears to have first emerged in the mid-19th century and was only identified at the begininning of the 1930s in the Rift Valley region of Kenya. Despite being an arbovirus with a relatively simple but temporally and geographically stable genome, this zoonotic virus has already demonstrated a real capacity for emerging in new territories, as exemplified by the outbreaks in Egypt (1977), Western Africa (1988) and the Arabian Peninsula (2000), or for re-emerging after long periods of silence as observed very recently in Kenya and South Africa. The presence of competent vectors in countries previously free of RVF, the high viral titres in viraemic animals and the global changes in climate, travel and trade all contribute to make this virus a threat that must not be neglected as the consequences of RVF are dramatic, both for human and animal health. In this review, we present the latest advances in RVF virus research. In spite of this renewed interest, aspects of the epidemiology of RVF virus are still not fully understood and safe, effective vaccines are still not freely available for protecting humans and livestock against the dramatic consequences of this virus. Rift Valley fever / molecular epidemiology / vector / pathogenesis / diagnostic

571 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is established that genetic material derived from all known viral genome types and replication strategies can enter the animal germ line, greatly broadening the scope of paleovirological studies and indicating a more significant evolutionary role for gene flow from virus to animal genomes than has previously been recognized.
Abstract: Integration into the nuclear genome of germ line cells can lead to vertical inheritance of retroviral genes as host alleles For other viruses, germ line integration has only rarely been documented Nonetheless, we identified endogenous viral elements (EVEs) derived from ten non-retroviral families by systematic in silico screening of animal genomes, including the first endogenous representatives of double-stranded RNA, reverse-transcribing DNA, and segmented RNA viruses, and the first endogenous DNA viruses in mammalian genomes Phylogenetic and genomic analysis of EVEs across multiple host species revealed novel information about the origin and evolution of diverse virus groups Furthermore, several of the elements identified here encode intact open reading frames or are expressed as mRNA For one element in the primate lineage, we provide statistically robust evidence for exaptation Our findings establish that genetic material derived from all known viral genome types and replication strategies can enter the animal germ line, greatly broadening the scope of paleovirological studies and indicating a more significant evolutionary role for gene flow from virus to animal genomes than has previously been recognized

570 citations