Seroprevalence of Bas-Congo virus in Mangala, Democratic Republic of the Congo: a population-based cross-sectional study

Yannick Munyeku-Bazitama, Patient Okitale-Talunda, Takanari Hattori, Takeshi Saito, Boniface Pongombo Lombe, Hiroko Miyamoto, Akina Mori-Kajihara, Masahiro Kajihara, Agathe Bikupe Nkoy, Augustin Tshibwabwa Twabela, Justin Masumu, Steve Ahuka-Mundeke, Jean Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum, Manabu Igarashi, Eun sil Park, Shigeru Morikawa, Sheila Makiala-Mandanda, Ayato Takada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Bas-Congo virus (BASV), an emerging tibrovirus, was associated with an outbreak of acute haemorrhagic fever in Mangala, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 2009. In 2012, neutralising antibodies to BASV were detected in the lone survivor and one of his close contacts. However, subsequent serological and molecular surveys were unsuccessful as neither BASV antibodies nor its RNA were detected. In this study, we determined the seroprevalence of BASV infection in Mangala 13 years after the initial outbreak. Methods: We conducted a population-based serological survey from Jan 17 to Jan 23, 2022. Consenting individuals at least 5 years of age, living in Mangala for at least 4 weeks, and who had no contraindication to venepuncture were enrolled. Participants were interviewed using a pre-tested questionnaire for sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. We supplemented the collected serum samples with 284 archived samples from Matadi and Kinshasa. All samples were tested for antibodies to BASV and other tibroviruses using a pseudovirus-based neutralisation test. Findings: Among the 267 individuals from Mangala, the prevalence of BASV antibodies was 55% (95% CI 49–61; n=147). BASV seropositivity odds significantly increased with age (5·2 [95% CI 2·1–12·9] to 83·9 [20·8–337·7] times higher in participants aged 20 years or older than participants aged 5–19 years). Some occupational categories (eg, farmer or public servant) were associated with seropositivity. Only nine (6%) of 160 samples from Matadi and one (<1%) of 124 samples from Kinshasa had neutralising antibodies to BASV. Moreover, we also detected neutralising antibodies to other tibroviruses—Ekpoma virus 1, Ekpoma virus 2, and Mundri virus—in 84 (31%), 251 (94%), and 219 (82%) of 267 Mangala samples; 14 (9%), 62 (39%), and 120 (75%) of 160 Matadi samples; and six (5%), five (4%), and 33 (27%) of 124 Kinshasa samples, respectively. Interpretation: Human infection with BASV and other tibroviruses seems common in Mangala, although no deadly outbreak has been reported since 2009. Exposure to BASV might be highly restricted to Mangala and the increasing prevalence of neutralising antibodies with age suggests regular contact with the virus in this city. Altogether, our findings suggest that human infection with tibroviruses could be common in the study areas and not associated with deadly haemorrhagic or debilitating syndromes. Funding: Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under the Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) and Japan Program for Infectious Diseases Research and Infrastructure from AMED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalThe Lancet Microbe
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

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