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Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Terrestrial Animals in Southern Nigeria: Potential Cases of Reverse Zoonosis

By A. N. Happi, A. O. Ayinla, O. A. Ogunsanya, A. E. Sijuwola, F. M. Saibu, K. Akano, U. E. George, A. E. Sopeju, P. M. Rabinowitz, K. K. Ojo, L. K. Barrett, W. C. Van Voorhis, C. T. Happi

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Since SARS-CoV-2 caused the COVID-19 pandemic, records have suggested the occurrence of reverse zoonosis of pets and farm animals in contact with SARS-CoV-2-positive humans in the Occident. However, there is little information on the spread of the virus among animals in contact with humans in Africa. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 in various animals in Nigeria. Overall, 791 animals from Ebonyi, Ogun, Ondo, and Oyo States, Nigeria were screened for SARS-CoV-2 using RT-qPCR (n = 364) and IgG ELISA (n = 654). SARS-CoV-2 positivity rates were 45.9% (RT-qPCR) and 1.4% (ELISA). SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in almost all animal taxa and sampling locations except Oyo State. SARS-CoV-2 IgGs were detected only in goats from Ebonyi and pigs from Ogun States. Overall, SARS-CoV-2 infectivity rates were higher in 2021 than in 2022. Our study highlights the ability of the virus to infect various animals. It presents the first report of natural SARS-CoV-2 infection in poultry, pigs, domestic ruminants, and lizards. The close human–animal interactions in these settings suggest ongoing reverse zoonosis, highlighting the role of behavioral factors of transmission and the potential for SARS-CoV-2 to spread among animals. These underscore the importance of continuous monitoring to detect and intervene in any eventual upsurge.

Date 2023
Publication Title Viruses
Volume 15
Issue 5
ISBN/ISSN 1999-4915
DOI 10.3390/v15051187
Author Address African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Redeemer's University, Ede 23210, Osun State, Nigeria.Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Redeemer's University, Ede 23210, Osun State, Nigeria.Center for One Health Research, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Center for Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases (CERID), University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals
  2. Covid-19
  3. Domestic animals
  4. Goats
  5. Humans
  6. Nigeria
  7. open access
  8. Pandemics
  9. RNA
  10. surveillance
  11. Swine
  12. Zoonoses
  1. open access