Molecular epidemiology of Zika virus and Rubella virus in pregnant women attending Sobi Specialist Hospital Ilorin, Nigeria

Olatunji Matthew Kolawole, Muhammed Mustapha Suleiman, Emmanuel Pelumi Bamidele


Background: Zika virus and rubella virus are viruses of concern to public health owing to their independent ability to cross the placenta causing congenital defects and complications. This study aims to determine the molecular epidemiology of these viruses amongst pregnant women attending Sobi Specialist hospital in Ilorin, Kwara state.

Methods: After ethical approval and duly completed informed consent form, blood sample and respondent data were collected for Enzyme Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay after which the respective IgM positive samples were molecularly analyzed independently.

Results: The recorded immune status to the individual viruses were 32 (16.0%) and 14 (7.0%) for zika virus IgM and IgG while rubella virus IgM and IgG had 24 (12.0%) and 118 (59.0%) prevalence respectively. The molecular analysis of the rubella virus yielded a partial sequence of its E1 glycoprotein which was assigned accession number MT153585 after GenBank deposition while zika virus had no detectable molecular result. Further analysis of serostatus revealed coinfection (3.5% and 3.7%) and mono (1.0% and 36.0%) for IgM and IgG respectively and sero-conversion of 17.5%. The unexposed respondent was 38.0%. Amongst the evaluated demographic/risk factors, the viruses were statistically significant (p<0.05) for age, type of marriage, occupation, parity and frequency of contact with people while mosquito prevention strategy and its implementation were also significant for zika virus acquisition.

Conclusions: Awareness of respondent to the viruses was very low with 97.0% unaware prior to this study. Vaccination for the vaccine preventable rubella virus should be implemented while adherence to mosquito prevention strategies and discouragement of breeding site should be is encouraged. There is need for the enactment of surveillance route for these viruses to ascertain the extent of the silent burden on the health of the baby in Nigeria.


Co-infection, Molecular, Prevalence, Rubella virus, Zika virus

Full Text:



Kolawole OM, Suleiman MM, Alabi OO, Ogah JI, Amuda OO. Seroprevalence of Rubella Viral Infection in Women of Childbearing Age in Lokoja, Nigeria. Sci, Technol Arts Res J. 2015;4(1):129-33.

World Health Organization (WHO), 2019.Rubella virus. Available at: Accessed September, 2019.

World Health Organization (WHO), 2017. Congenital anomalies. Geneva, Switzerland. Available at: Accessed September, 2019.

Musso D, Nhan T, Robin E, Roche C, Bierlaire D, Zisou K, et al. Potential for Zika virus transmission through blood transfusion demonstrated during an outbreak in French Polynesia, November 2013 to February 2014. Eurosurveillance. 2014 Apr 10;19(14):20761.

Center for Disease and Control (CDC), 2016 Transmission of Zika virus. Available at: Accessed September, 2019.

Prisant N, Bujan L, Benichou H, Hayot PH, Pavili L, Lurel S, et al. Zika virus in the female genital tract. The Lancet infectious diseases. 2016 Sep 1;16(9):1000-1.

Kindhauser MK, Allen T, Frank V, Santhana RS, Dye C. Zika: the origin and spread of a mosquito-borne virus. Bull World Health Organization. 2016 Sep 1;94(9):675.

Population and housing census. Population distribution by age and sex. 2006; Priority table volume IV. Available at:

Sikka V, Chattu VK, Popli RK, Galwankar SC, Kelkar D, Sawicki SG, et al. The emergence of Zika virus as a global health security threat: a review and a consensus statement of the INDUSEM Joint Working Group (JWG). J Global Infect Dis. 2016 Jan;8(1):3.

Kolawole OM, Suleiman MM, AlabI O, Ogah IJ, Amuda OO. Molecular detection of rubella virus glycoprotein among women of childbearing age in lokoja. Nitte Univ J Health Sci. 2015 Jun 1;5(2):22-7.

World Health Organization (WHO). Zika virus. 2018. Available at: Accessed September, 2019.

Bamgboye AE, Afolabi KA, Esumeh FI, Enweani IB. Prevalence of rubella antibody in pregnant women in Ibadan, Nigeria. West Afr J Medi. 2004;23(3):245-8.

Agbede OO, Adeyemi OO, Olatinwo AW, Salisu TJ, Kolawole OM. Sero-prevalence of antenatal rubella in UITH. The Open Public Health Journal. 2011 Jul 6;4(1):10-6.

Ogbonnaya EC, Chinedum EK, John A, Esther A. Survey of the sero-prevalence of IgM antibodies in pregnant women infected with rubella virus. J Biotechnol Pharm Res. 2012 Mar;3:10-4.

Olajide OM, Aminu M, Randawa AJ, Adejo DS. Seroprevalence of rubella-specific IgM and IgG antibodies among pregnant women seen in a tertiary hospital in Nigeria. Int J Women's Health. 2015;7:75-83.

Center for Diseases and Control (CDC), 2017. Fact sheets about pregnancy- and newborn-related infections. Available at: Accessed September, 2019.

World Health Organization. Standardization of the nomenclature for genetic characteristics of wildtype rubella viruses. Weekly Epidemiolog Rec. 2005;80(14):126-32.

Gubio A, Olonitola S, Jattau E, Mukhtar M. Sero-prevalence of Rubella virus among pregnant women in Kaduna State Nigeria 2015. Online J Pub Health Informat. 2017 May 2;9(1):e185.

Tusting LS, Thwing J, Sinclair D, Fillinger U, Gimnig J, Bonner KE, et al. Mosquito larval source management for controlling malaria. Cochrane Datab System Rev. 2013;(8).

George KS, Pinsky BA. Molecular diagnosis of Zika virus infections. Rev Medi Microbiol. 2018 Jan 1;29(1):8-16.

Curti SP, Figueiredo CA, de Oliveira MI, Andrade JQ, Zugaib M, Frugis Yu AL, et al. Molecular epidemiology of rubella viruses involved in congenital rubella infections in São Paulo, Brazil, between 1996 and 2009. J Medi Virol. 2013 Nov;85(11):2034-41.

Center for Disease and Control (CDC). Global distribution of Rubella virus genotypes. 2003; Available at: 0242.pdf. Accessed September, 2019.

World Health Organization. Framework for verifying elimination of measles and rubella. Weekly Epidemiolog Rec. 2013;88(09):89-98.