Sero-evidence of Zoonotic Viruses in Rodents and Humans in Kibera Informal Settlement, Nairobi, Kenya

Rodents are known reservoir hosts for many pathogens that can cause disease in humans. The risk of zoonotic spillover is high in informal urban settlements (slums) where rodents and human densities are high, rodents live in close proximity to humans and human knowledge of disease risks and access to health care is limited. 

To address these deficiencies, Medicl Microbilogy Doctoral Student Dr Joseh Ogola et al., investigated zoonotic viruses associated with commensal rodents in the Kibera informal urban settlement in Nairobi, Kenya; one of the largest urban informal settlements in the world.  Kibera settlement is known to harbor large populations of rodents but information on the viruses they carry and whether they spill over into humans is lacking. The team screened both rodents and febrile humans inhabiting Kibera settlement for antibodies against selected major zoonotic virus groups carried by rodents, namely: orthopoxviruses, arenaviruses, and hantaviruses. The study provided strong evidence for the circulation of zoonotic viruses in rodents and humans in the Kibera urban settlement.