A recent study was designed to investigate the seroprevalence of WNV antibodies in humans, horses, and pigeons in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The results have caused deep concern, prompting scientists to propose vaccination.
More than 70% of horses enrolled in a study in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia were found to carry antibodies against West Nile Virus.
Blood samples were collected from 323 humans, 147 horses, and 282 pigeons from two regions, Al-Ahsa and Al-Qatif, in East of Saudi Arabia. Serum samples were tested for anti-WNV antibodies by ELISA.
The study provided the first evidence for anti-WNV antibody detection in humans and pigeons. This study further ascertained the high seroprevalence of the virus in horses as reported previously by Hemida et al 2019. Overall data indicates that WNV is endemic in Saudi Arabia. These findings suggest that more attention should be given to the diagnosis and reporting of WNV infections in human and animals and monitoring of virus circulation in the environment.