Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 31088555
Vet. Res. 2019 May;50(1):34
Bluetongue is a vector-borne disease of ruminants with economic consequences for the livestock industry. Bluetongue virus serotype 8 (BTV-8) caused a massive outbreak in Europe in 2006/2009 and re-emerged in France in 2015. Given the unprecedented epidemiological features of this serotype in cattle, the importance of secondary routes of transmission was reconsidered and transplacental transmission of BTV-8 was demonstrated in naturally and experimentally infected cattle. Here we used surveillance data from the on-going outbreak to quantify BTV-8 vertical transmission in French cattle. We used RT-PCR pre-export tests collected from June to December 2016 on the French territory and developed a catalytic model to disentangle vertical and vector-borne transmission. A series of in silico experiments validated the ability of our framework to quantify vertical transmission provided sufficient prevalence levels. By applying our model to an area selected accordingly, we estimated a probability of vertical transmission of 56% (55.8%, 95% credible interval 41.7-70.6) in unvaccinated heifers infected late in gestation. The influence of this high probability of vertical transmission on BTV-8 spread and persistence should be further investigated.