Serological and molecular detection of Toscana and other Phleboviruses in patients and sandflies in Tunisia.

BMC infectious diseases

PubMedID: 25398483

Fezaa O, M Ghirbi Y, Savellini G, Ammari L, Hogga N, Triki H, Cusi M, Bouattour A. Serological and molecular detection of Toscana and other Phleboviruses in patients and sandflies in Tunisia. BMC Infect Dis. 2014;14(1):598.
BackgroundOur aim is to detect the infection by Toscana virus (TOSV) and other Phleboviruses in the sera and cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) of patients with meningitis in Tunisia. We examined various species of phlebotomus present in Tunisia to determine whether or not a direct relationship exists between cases of meningitis and the viruses circulating in the insect vectors.MethodsPatients with the meningeal syndrome were tested for anti-TOSV IgM and IgG using an indirect Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) and for the presence of TOSV and other Phleboviruses using a RT-PCR test.An entomological study was carried out using CDC light traps to trap sandflies in different bioclimatic zones of Tunisia. Collected sandflies were tested by RT-PCR for the presence of TOSV and other Phleboviruses and subsequently by viral isolation on Vero cells.ResultsOf 263 patients were tested using ELISA of which 12.16% (n¿=¿32/263) were IgM positive for anti TOSV. Of these 32 patients, 78% (n¿=¿25/32) were IgG positive. 12.86% (n¿=¿18/140) of the CSF samples tested by RT-PCR were positive for the Toscana virus.One CSF sample tested by RT-PCR revealed the presence of Sandfly Fever Sicilian Virus (SFSV). The Punique virus was identified in one sandfly pool.ConclusionsThis study confirms, for the first time, that TOSV is involved in a neurological disorder in North Africa. The incidence of this involvement in Tunisia conforms with observations made in other Mediterranean countries. Moreover, for the first time, a molecular approach was used to detect SFSV in a Tunisian patient displaying neurological symptoms.