Co-circulation and characterization of novel African arboviruses (genus Ephemerovirus) in cattle, Mayotte island, Indian Ocean, 2017.
Mayotte is an island located in the Mozambique Channel, between Mozambique and Madagascar, in the South Western Indian Ocean region. A severe syndrome of unknown aetiology has been observed seasonally since 2009 in cattle (locally named "cattle flu"), associated with anorexia, nasal discharge, hyperthermia and lameness. We sampled blood from a panel of those severely affected animals at the onset of disease signs and analysed these samples by next-generation sequencing. We first identified the presence of ephemeral bovine fever viruses (BEFV), an arbovirus belonging to the genus Ephemerovirus within the family Rhabdoviridae, thus representing the first published sequences of BEFV viruses of African origin. In addition, we also discovered and genetically characterized a potential new species within the genus Ephemerovirus, called Mavingoni virus (MVGV) from one diseased animal. Finally, both MVGV and BEFV have been identified in cattle from the same herd, evidencing a co-circulation of different ephemeroviruses on the island. The clinical, epidemiological and virological information strongly suggests that these viruses represent the etiological agents of the observed "cattle flu" within this region. This study highlights the importance of the strengthening and harmonizing arboviral surveillance in Mayotte and its neighbouring areas, including Africa mainland, given the importance of the diffusion of infectious diseases (such as BEFV) mediated by animal and human movements in the South Western Indian Ocean area.