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 Footnote 1-Footnote 3, Old World Alphavirus Footnote 4, Semliki Forest Fever Footnote 5
CHARACTERISTICS: Family Togaviridae, Genus Alphavirus Footnote 6Footnote 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 Footnote 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 Footnote 3Footnote 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 Footnote 9. The patient had a history of compromised immune system.
EPIDEMIOLOGY: Found throughout Africa and parts of Asia Footnote 8Footnote 9. Possibly present in central and southern Europe Footnote 10. Human infections may be common, as indicated by serosurveys Footnote 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 Footnote 3Footnote 5.
INFECTIOUS DOSE: Unknown.
MODE OF TRANSMISSION: Transmitted mainly by mosquito bites Footnote 1Footnote 2Footnote 5Footnote 7Footnote 8Footnote 10. SFV can also be transmitted by inhalation of contaminated aerosols Footnote 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 Footnote 3Footnote 5.
ZOONOSIS: Yes, indirectly via mosquitoes Footnote 1Footnote 2Footnote 5Footnote 7Footnote 8Footnote 10.
VECTORS: Mosquitoes Footnote 2Footnote 5Footnote 8Footnote 10.
SECTION IV – STABILITY AND VIABILITY
DRUG SUSCEPTIBILITY: Infection is rare and no specific treatment exists Footnote 5. Treatment for symptoms may be indicated Footnote 1.
SUSCEPTIBILITY TO DISINFECTANTS: 1% sodium hypochlorite and 70% ethanol are effective disinfectants Footnote 6.
PHYSICAL INACTIVATION: SVF can be inactivated by UV light Footnote 11 and at pH below 6.0 Footnote 11Footnote 12.
SURVIVAL OUTSIDE HOST: SVF can survive in aerosol spray of culture fluid up to 22 hours in 90% relative humidity Footnote 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 Footnote 5.
Note: All diagnostic methods are not necessarily available in all countries.
FIRST AID/TREATMENT: No specific antiviral treatment is available Footnote 1Footnote 5. Supportive treatment is provided for those with more severe symptoms. Arthritis treatment may be required for those who develop such symptoms Footnote 1.
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 Footnote 5.
PRIMARY HAZARDS: Accidental inoculation with needle containing infectious material and inhalation of aerosols Footnote 5.
SPECIAL HAZARDS: None.
SECTION VII – EXPOSURE CONTROLS / PERSONAL PROTECTION
RISK GROUP CLASSIFICATION: Risk Group 2 Footnote 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 Footnote 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) Footnote 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 Footnote 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 Footnote 16.
DISPOSAL: Decontamination using steam sterilization, chemical disinfection, or incineration must be performed before disposal of infectious waste Footnote 16.
STORAGE: All infectious materials should be stored in sealed containers bearing the appropriate labelling Footnote 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.
Public Health Agency of Canada, 2010
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