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A serological survey of Bacillus anthracis reveals widespread exposure to the pathogen in free-range and captive lions in Zimbabwe.
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  • Norman Mukarati,
  • Okechukwu Ndumnego,
  • Sunday Ochai,
  • Solomon Jauro,
  • Andrew Loveridge,
  • Henriette van Heerden,
  • Gift Matope,
  • Alexandre Caron,
  • Tapiwanashe Hanyire,
  • Michel de Garine-Wichatitsky,
  • Davies Pfukenyi
Norman Mukarati
University of Zimbabwe

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Okechukwu Ndumnego
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Sunday Ochai
University of Pretoria Faculty of Veterinary Science
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Solomon Jauro
University of Pretoria Faculty of Veterinary Science
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Andrew Loveridge
Oxford University
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Henriette van Heerden
University of Pretoria
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Gift Matope
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Alexandre Caron
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Tapiwanashe Hanyire
Government of Zimbabwe Department of Livestock And Veterinary Services
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Michel de Garine-Wichatitsky
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Davies Pfukenyi
University of Zimbabwe
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Numerous unknown factors influence anthrax epidemiology in multi-host systems, especially at wildlife/livestock/human interfaces. Serology tests for anti-anthrax antibodies in carnivores are useful tools in identifying the presence or absence of Bacillus anthracis in a range. These were employed to ascertain if the disease pattern followed the recognized high and low risk anthrax zonation in Zimbabwe and also to establish if anthrax was absent from Hwange National Park in which there has been no reported outbreaks. African lions (Panthera leo) (n= 114) drawn from -free-range protected areas and captive game parks located in recognized high and low risk zones across Zimbabwe were tested for antibodies to anthrax PA antigen using the ELISA immunoassay. A random selection of 27 lion sera samples comprising 17 sero-positive and 10 sero-negative sera were further tested in the species-independent toxin neutralization assay (TNA) in order to validate the former as a surveillance tool for anthrax in African lions. Using the ELISA-PA immunoassay, 21.9% (25/114) of the lions tested positive for antibodies to anthrax. Seropositivity was recorded in all study areas and there was no significant difference (p= 0.852) in seropositivity between lions in high and low risk anthrax zones. Also, there was no significant difference (McNemar’s χ2 = 0.9, p = 0.343) in the proportion of lions testing positive to anti-PA anthrax antibodies on ELISA-PA immunoassay compared to the TNA, with fair agreement between the two tests [Kappa (K) statistic = 0.30; 0.08
02 Aug 2020Submitted to Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
02 Aug 2020Submission Checks Completed
02 Aug 2020Assigned to Editor
04 Aug 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
21 Aug 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
21 Aug 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
24 Aug 20201st Revision Received
24 Aug 2020Submission Checks Completed
24 Aug 2020Assigned to Editor
25 Aug 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
14 Sep 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
14 Sep 2020Editorial Decision: Accept
May 2021Published in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases volume 68 issue 3 on pages 1676-1684. 10.1111/tbed.13842