Pathogen Safety Data Sheets: Infectious Substances – Semliki Forest Virus

PATHOGEN SAFETY DATA SHEET - INFECTIOUS SUBSTANCES

SECTION I - INFECTIOUS AGENT

NAME: Semliki Forest Virus

SYNONYM OR CROSS REFERENCE: SFV (1-3), Old World Alphavirus (4), Semliki Forest Fever (5)

CHARACTERISTICS: Family Togaviridae, Genus Alphavirus (6, 7). Virions have an approximate diameter of 50-70 nm and contain one positive stranded RNA molecule. Genetic material is enveloped in an icosahedral nucleocapsid.

SECTION II – HAZARD IDENTIFICATION

PATHOGENICITY/TOXICITY: Most infections caused by the Semliki Forest Virus (SFV) are asymptomatic or very mild (3). When symptoms are present they are mild. During the acute phase of infection they are indistinguishable from those of malaria, influenza, or other febrile illnesses (3, 8). When present, symptoms include headache, fever, myalgia and athrolgia. Rare symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and conjunctivitis have been reported. The acute phase lasts 2-4 days and is followed by a long period marked by weakness. In the only case reported to end in death the symptoms worsened and loss of speech, convulsions, coma, and cardiovascular and respiratory failure followed (9). The patient had a history of compromised immune system.

EPIDEMIOLOGY: Found throughout Africa and parts of Asia (8, 9). Possibly present in central and southern Europe (10). Human infections may be common, as indicated by serosurveys (9). Reports of disease are very rare. Outbreaks have occurred in regions of Africa, but no other fatalities have been reported.

HOST RANGE: Humans, mosquitoes, and animals, including wild birds, rodents, domestic animals and non-human primates (3, 5).

INFECTIOUS DOSE: Unknown.

MODE OF TRANSMISSION: Transmitted mainly by mosquito bites (1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 10). SFV can also be transmitted by inhalation of contaminated aerosols (5).

INCUBATION PERIOD: Unknown.

COMMUNICABILITY: Not communicated person-to-person.

SECTION III - DISSEMINATION

RESERVOIR: Humans, mosquitoes, and animals, including wild birds, rodents, domestic animals and non-human primates (3, 5).

ZOONOSIS: Yes, indirectly via mosquitoes (1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 10).

VECTORS: Mosquitoes (2, 5, 8, 10).

SECTION IV – STABILITY AND VIABILITY

DRUG SUSCEPTIBILITY: Infection is rare and no specific treatment exists (5). Treatment for symptoms may be indicated (1).

SUSCEPTIBILITY TO DISINFECTANTS: 1% sodium hypochlorite and 70% ethanol are effective disinfectants (6).

PHYSICAL INACTIVATION: SVF can be inactivated by UV light (11) and at pH below 6.0 (11, 12).

SURVIVAL OUTSIDE HOST: SVF can survive in aerosol spray of culture fluid up to 22 hours in 90% relative humidity (13). SVF survival exceeds 24 hours in aerosol sprays if culture fluid in 20-84% relative humidity.

SECTION V – FIRST AID / MEDICAL

SURVEILLANCE: Monitor for symptoms. Identification may be performed by real time PCR. Enzyme linked immunoabsorbant assays may also be performed for identification of virus specific antibodies (5).

Note: All diagnostic methods are not necessarily available in all countries.

FIRST AID/TREATMENT: No specific antiviral treatment is available (1, 5). Supportive treatment is provided for those with more severe symptoms. Arthritis treatment may be required for those who develop such symptoms (1).

IMMUNIZATION: None.

PROPHYLAXIS: None.

SECTION VI - LABORATORY HAZARDS

LABORATORY-ACQUIRED INFECTIONS: One reported case as of 2001, resulting in the death of a 26 year old laboratory worker (5, 9, 14). No information reported on mode of transmission. Two other cases of infections with the Semliki Forest virus were reported; neither was fatal (5, 14).

SOURCES/SPECIMENS: Blood, cerebral spinal fluid (5).

PRIMARY HAZARDS: Accidental inoculation with needle containing infectious material and inhalation of aerosols (5).

SPECIAL HAZARDS: None.

SECTION VII – EXPOSURE CONTROLS / PERSONAL PROTECTION

RISK GROUP CLASSIFICATION: Risk Group 2 (15).

CONTAINMENT REQUIREMENTS: Containment Level 2 facilities, equipment, and operational practices for work involving infectious or potentially infectious materials, animals, or cultures.

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING: Lab coat. Gloves when direct skin contact with infected materials or animals is unavoidable. Eye protection must be used where there is a known or potential risk of exposure to splashes (16). Respirator should be used when exposed to infectious aerosols.

OTHER PRECAUTIONS: All procedures that may produce aerosols, or involve high concentrations or large volumes should be conducted in a biological safety cabinet (BSC) (16).

The use of needles, syringes and other sharp objects should be strictly limited. Additional precautions should be considered with work involving animals or large scale activities (16).

SECTION VIII - HANDLING AND STORAGE

SPILLS: Allow aerosols to settle and, wearing protective clothing, gently cover spill with paper towels and apply appropriate disinfectant, starting at the perimeter and working towards the centre. Allow sufficient contact time before clean up (16).

DISPOSAL: Decontamination using steam sterilization, chemical disinfection, or incineration must be performed before disposal of infectious waste (16).

STORAGE: All infectious materials should be stored in sealed containers bearing the appropriate labelling (16).

SECTION IX – REGULATORY AND OTHER INFORMATION

REGULATORY INFORMATION: The import, transport, and use of pathogens in Canada is regulated under many regulatory bodies, including the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Environment Canada, and Transport Canada. Users are responsible for ensuring they are compliant with all relevant acts, regulations, guidelines, and standards.

UPDATED: September 2010

PREPARED BY: Pathogen Regulation Directorate, Public Health Agency of Canada.

Although the information, opinions and recommendations contained in this Pathogen Safety Data Sheet are compiled from sources believed to be reliable, we accept no responsibility for the accuracy, sufficiency, or reliability or for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information. Newly discovered hazards are frequent and this information may not be completely up to date.

Copyright ©

Public Health Agency of Canada, 2010

Canada

REFERENCES:

  1. Griffin, D. E. (2001). Alphaviruses. In D. M. Knipe, & P. M. Howley (Eds.), Fields Virology (4 th ed., pp. 917-962). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
     
  2. WOODALL, J. P., & BERTRAM, D. S. (1959). The transmission of Semliki Forest virus by Aedes aegypti L. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 53, 440-444.
     
  3. Mathiot, C. C., Grimaud, G., Garry, P., Bouquety, J. C., Mada, A., Daguisy, A. M., & Georges, A. J. (1990). An outbreak of human Semliki Forest virus infections in Central African Republic. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 42(4), 386-393.
     
  4. Reichert, E., Clase, A., Bacetty, A., & Larsen, J. (2009). Alphavirus antiviral drug development: scientific gap analysis and prospective research areas. Biosecurity and Bioterrorism : Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, 7(4), 413-427. doi:10.1089/bsp.2009.0032
     
  5. Krauss, H., Weber, A., Appel, M., Enders, B., Isenberg, H. D., Schiefer, H. G., Slenczka, H. G., Graevenitz, A. V., & Zahner, H. (2003). Viral zoonoses. Zoonoses: Infectious diseases transmissible from Animals to Humans (3rd ed., pp. 7-8, 14-15). Washington, USA: ASM press.
     
  6. Prince, H. N., & Prince, D. L. (2001). Principles of viral control and transmission. In S. S. Block (Ed.), Disinfection, sterilization and preservation (5th ed., pp. 543-571). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
     
  7. Pohjala, L., Alakurtti, S., Ahola, T., Yli-Kauhaluoma, J., & Tammela, P. (2009). Betulin-derived compounds as inhibitors of alphavirus replication. Journal of Natural Products, 72(11), 1917-1926. doi:10.1021/np9003245
     
  8. Tsai, T. F. (2003). Arboviruses. In P. R. Murray (Ed.), Manual of Clinical Microbiology (8th ed., pp. 1553-1569). Washington, D.C.: ASM Press.
     
  9. Willems, W. R., Kaluza, G., Boschek, C. B., Bauer, H., Hager, H., Schutz, H. J., & Feistner, H. (1979). Semliki forest virus: cause of a fatal case of human encephalitis. Science (New York, N.Y.), 203(4385), 1127-1129.
     
  10. Lundstrom, J. O. (1999). Mosquito-borne viruses in western Europe: a review. Journal of Vector Ecology : Journal of the Society for Vector Ecology, 24(1), 1-39.
     
  11. White, J., Matlin, K., & Helenius, A. (1981). Cell fusion by Semliki Forest, influenza, and vesicular stomatitis viruses. The Journal of Cell Biology, 89(3), 674-679.
     
  12. Svehag, S. E., Leendertsen, L., & Gorham, J. R. (1966). Sensitivity of bluetongue virus to lipid solvents, trypsin and pH changes and its serological relationship to arboviruses. The Journal of Hygiene, 64(3), 339-346.
     
  13. Benbough, J. E. (1969). The effect of relative humidity on the survival of airborne Semliki forest virus. The Journal of General Virology, 4(4), 473-477.
     
  14. Laboratory safety for arboviruses and certain other viruses of vertebrates. The Subcommittee on Arbovirus Laboratory Safety of the American Committee on Arthropod-Borne Viruses. (1980). The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 29(6), 1359-1381.
     
  15. Human pathogens and toxins act. S.C. 2009, c. 24, Second Session, Fortieth Parliament, 57-58 Elizabeth II, 2009. (2009).
     
  16. Public Health Agency of Canada. (2004). In Best M., Graham M. L., Leitner R., Ouellette M. and Ugwu K. (Eds.), Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines (3rd ed.). Canada: Public Health Agency of Canada.
     
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