Date Published: March 4, 2019
Author(s): R. N. Omani, G. C. Gitao, J. Gachohi, P. K. Gathumbi, B. A. Bwihangane, K. Abbey, V. J. Chemweno.
A study was conducted to determine the presence of Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) in camel population kept together with small ruminants in Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit, and Wajir counties of Kenya. This was done in the wake of a disease with unknown etiology “Camel Sudden Death Syndrome” camels in the horn of Africa. Thirty-eight (38) samples, 12, 8, 15, and 3 samples, were collected from Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo, and Marsabit, respectively, from 25 camels, 7 goats, and 4 sheep. One camel in Mandera and one goat in Wajir were confirmed positive for PPR virus (PPRV) through reverse Polymerase Chain Reaction. The analysis of sequences revealed closest nucleotide identities of obtained sequences from both goat and camel to the lineage III of PPRV albeit with 60.29% of nucleotide identity. This study establishes that camels in the study area suffer with PPR manifest clinical signs that are mainly characterized by inappetence, loss of body condition, and general weakness terminally leading to diarrhea, conjunctivitis, and ocular nasal discharges preceding death. These clinical signs are similar to those observed in small ruminants with slight variations of manifestations such as keratoconjunctivitis as well as edema of the ventral surface of the abdomen. This shows that camels could be involved in the epidemiology of PPR in the region and that PPRV could be involved in the epidemics of Camel Sudden Death syndrome. There is therefore a need for resources to be dedicated in understanding the role camels play in the epidemiology of PPR and the role of the disease in Camels Sudden death syndrome.
Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a virus within the genus Morbillivirus and in the family Paramyxoviridae that has been reported in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Middle Eastern countries and India mainly [1, 2]. It causes an exceedingly acute disease in domestic sheep and goats characterized by fever, lesions in the mouth, diarrhea, and pneumonia often leading to death of affected animal [1, 3–5]. The disease was first reported in Kenya in the year 2007 . Of concern is that recently there have been reports on PPR causing a fatal disease syndrome in camels [7, 8].
A disease field investigation was done as from mid-February 2016 to the end of March 2016 from the study counties (Figure 1) following an outbreak of a disease of unknown etiology named “Camel Sudden Death Syndrome”. 36 camel herds along transport routes were purposively identified based on the recommendations of the veterinary departments in the respective counties. Three hundred and ninety-two (392) camels presented as sick by respective herders were examined for PPR. In addition 80 sheep and goats spread through 4 herds which were closely reared with camels in the same herds were also examined (See Tables 1–8 in supplementary material). The sampled animals had a fever in addition to presenting any or a combination of diarrhea, ocular, and nasal discharge.
PPRV is spread through contact among prone animal’s species more especially sheep and goats through respired droplets, predominantly when an infected animal coughs or through excretions of clinical infective material such as nasal, ocular, and oral discharges [16–18]. Based on these dynamics the virus may be spread over areas especially through movement of infected animals especially for trade and/or during relocation for water and pastures [10, 19, 20]. This is so especially for animals that incubate the disease without overt clinical signs [5, 21].
Emergence of PPRV in unusual hosts is a current ongoing discussion and there is need for long-term forthcoming studies especially in areas where PPRV is enzootic to understand the dynamics of the virus. Based on the findings of this study, the author would wish to recommend that, during outbreaks of PPR, camels, sheep, and goats herds should be reared separately. There is also a need for resources to be dedicated in understanding the role camels play in this disease more important especially when considering the global objective of eliminating PPR by 2030 by the OIE and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).