Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) causes outbreaks of severe disease in domestic ungulates as well as humans in Africa. There is a concern that outbreaks of Rift Valley fever may continue and that this virus may spread into regions where it had not previously been detected. Surveillance and rapid detection are critical to the initiation of an effective disease control program. Here we report on the field evaluation in Kenya of the VectorTest® RVFV antigen assay, modeled on the VecTest® assay for West Nile virus. The dipsticks provided results in <20 min, were easy to use, and did not require a laboratory with containment facilities. Although none of the field-collected mosquitoes were infected with RVFV, the dipstick provided a clear positive result with pools of field-collected mosquitoes spiked with a single positive, irradiated (to inactivate any infectious virus) mosquito. Similarly, the dipstick was able to detect virus from pools of mosquitoes captured during the RVFV outbreak in 2007. The RVFV dipstick assay was highly specific with only a single weak false positive out of 266 pools tested (specificity > 99.6%). The RVFV assay can provide a rapid, safe, easy-to-use preliminary test to alert public health personnel to the presence of RVFV in mosquitoes in a given area. Results from this assay will allow for more rapid medical threat assessments and the focusing of vector control measures on high-risk areas.
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