Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Livestock Presence Influences the Seroprevalence of Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus on Sympatric Wildlife in Kenya

Obanda, Vincent; Agwanda, Bernard; Blanco-Penedo, Isabel; Mwangi, Irene Ann; King'ori, Edward; Omondi, George P.; Ahlm, Clas; Evander, Magnus; Lwande, Olivia Wesula;


Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is an emerging tick-borne zoonotic viral disease with the potential of causing public health emergencies. However, less is known about the role of wildlife and livestock in spreading the virus. Therefore, we aimed to assess how the interactions between African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and cattle may influence the seroprevalence of CCHF across livestock-wildlife management systems in Kenya. The study included archived sera samples from buffalo and cattle from wildlife only habitats (Lake Nakuru National Park and Solio conservancy), open wildlife-livestock integrated habitats (Maasai Mara ecosystem and Meru National Park), and closed wildlife-livestock habitats (Ol Pejeta Conservancy) in Kenya. We analyzed 191 buffalo and 139 cattle sera using IDvet multispecies, double-antigen IgG enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The seroprevalence toward Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) was significantly higher for buffalo compared to cattle (75.3% and 28.1%, respectively, p < 0.001). We obtained the highest seroprevalence among buffalo of 92.1% in closed wildlife only systems compared to 28.8% and 46.1% prevalence in closed-integrated and open-integrated systems, respectively. The regression coefficients were all negative for cattle compared to buffalo in both closed-integrated and open-integrated compared to wildlife only system. Our results show that CCHFV circulates among the diverse animal community in Kenya in spatially disconnected foci. The habitat overlap between cattle and buffalo makes cattle a "bridge species" or superspreader host for CCHFV and increases transmission risks to humans. The effect of animal management system on prevalence is depended on tick control on the cattle and not the animal per se. We conclude that buffalo, a host with a longer life span than livestock, is a reservoir and may serve as a sentinel population for longitudinal surveillance of CCHFV.


emerging infectious diseases; tick-borne diseases; outbreak; wildlife; Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever; African buffalo

Published in

Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases

2021, volume: 21, number: 10, pages: 809-816

Authors' information

Obanda, Vincent
Kenya Wildlife Service
Agwanda, Bernard
National Museums of Kenya
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Mwangi, Irene Ann
University of Nairobi
King’ori, Edward
Kenya Wildlife Service
Omondi, George P.
University of Minnesota
Ahlm, Clas
Umeå University
Evander, Magnus
Umeå University
Lwande, Olivia Wesula
Umeå University

UKÄ Subject classification

Clinical Science

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)