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Tool for Genomic Surveillance of Rift Valley Fever Virus

A computational tool for the genomic surveillance of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), the cause of a mosquito-borne zoonotic disease affecting both humans and livestock, is reported in this week's BMC Genomics. As it increasingly spreads outside of its endemic settings in sub-Saharan Africa, RVFV has been identified by the World Health Organization as likely to cause future epidemics, highlighting the need for technologies that track the emergence and spread of disease outbreaks. To that end, a team led by scientists from Kenya's International Livestock Research Institute developed a computational method — implemented both as a web application and command line tool — for rapidly classifying and assigning lineages of the RVFV isolates. The researchers show that the method was able to correctly classify all 234 RVFV sequences at species level with 100 percent specificity, sensitivity, and accuracy, with all sequences in lineages correctly classified at the phylogenetic level. The tool was also successfully used to assign lineages in five samples collected after a recent River Valley fever outbreak