Prof Felicity Burt
Ass Prof/Specialist Med Scientist
School of Pathology
Medical Virology
G 23
051 4053348
Francois Retief Building: Block C 410

Short CV

Current position: Research Chair, South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) for Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases.                                                                                                                              Head of Research Group in Medical Virology, Department of Medical Microbiology and Virology, University of the Free State.
Principal Investigator of Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases research group                                                                                                                                                                                                          Principal Investigator of Human papilloma virus research group 


BSc University of the Witwatersrand, 1984
BSc Hons University of the Witwatersrand, 1985
MSc University of the Witwatersrand, 1989
PhD University of the Witwatersrand, 1997

Employment history

1985-1988 Medical Scientist, Serum and Vaccine Department, South African Institute for Medical Research, Johannesburg

1988-2006 Specialist Medical Scientist, Special Pathogens Unit, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Health laboratory Services, Johannesburg. WHO Reference Laboratory for investigation and diagnosis of viral haemorrahgic fevers and arboviruses

2006-present Medical Virology, Associate Professor/Medical Scientist, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, National Health Laboratory Services Universitas, Bloemfontein

Academic Teaching Responsibilities

B Med Sc Hons,
M Med Sc

Other responsibilities:

Principal investigator studying vector borne and zoonotic viruses. We aim to increase our knowledge on B cell and T cell epitopes to facilitate diagnosis and vaccine development. The lab primarily focuses on host immune responses to arboviral infections specifically characterizing humoral and cellular immune responses in patients with Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus; epitope discovery for development of multivalent DNA-based vaccines; development of diagnostic assays including protein microarrays for differential diagnosis of CCHF; development of molecular and serological assays for identification of arboviruses; and evaluation of vaccines against CCHF and Rift Valley fever viruses.

Special interests and past experience

Diagnosis and investigation of viral haemorrhagic fevers, arboviruses, emerging viruses and zoonotic viruses

Member of international outbreak response teams for investigation of viral haemorrhagic fever outbreaks

1.Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1995. Member of international team investigating outbreak of Ebola virus in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
2.Saudi Arabia, September, 2000. Travelled to Saudi Arabia as a member of a team of scientists from the Special Pathogens Unit to set up laboratory facilities for testing livestock sera for evidence of Rift Valley fever infection.
3.Uganda, November, 2000. Member of international team investigating outbreak of Ebola virus in Gulu, Uganda.
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Publications in international peer reviewed journals


1. Burt FJ, Swanepoel R, Braack LEO. (1993). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for the detection of antibody to Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus in the sera of livestock and wild vertebrates. Epidemiol Infect; 111:547-557.

 2. Burt FJ, Leman PA, Abbott JC, Swanepoel R. (1994). Serodiagnosis of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever. Epidemiol Infect; 113:551-562.

 3. Muyembe-Tamfum JJ, Kipasa M. (1995). Ebola haemorrhagic fever in Kikwit, Zaire. International Scientific and Technical Committee and World Health Organziation Collaborating Centre for Haemorrhagic Fevers [letter]. The Lancet 345:1448.

 4. Burt FJ, Spencer DC, Leman PA, Patterson B, Swanepoel R. (1996).  Investigation of tick-borne viruses as pathogens of humans in South Africa and evidence of Dugbe virus infection in a patient with prolonged thrombocytopenia.  Epidemiol Infect; 116: 353-361.

 5. Swanepoel R, Leman PA, Burt FJ, Zachariades NA, Braack LEO, Ksaizek TG, Rollin PE, Zaki SR, Peters CJ.  (1996).  Experimental inoculation of plants and animals with Ebola virus. Emerg Infect Dis; 2: 321-326.

 6. Burt FJ, Swanpoel R, Shieh W-J, Smith JF, Leman PA, Greer PW, Coffield LM, Rollin PE, Ksiazek TG, Peters CJ, Zaki SR.  (1997).  Immunohistochemical and in situ localization of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever in human tissues and implications for CCHF pathogenesis.  Arch Pathol Lab Med; 121: 839-846.

 7. Burt FJ, Leman PA, Smith JF, Swanepoel R. (1998). The use of a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction for the detection of viral nucleic acid in the diagnosis of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus.  J Virol Methods; 70: 129-137.

 8. Swanepoel R, Leman PA, Burt FJ, Jardine J, Verwoerd DJ, Capua I, Brückner GK, Burger WP. (1998) Experimental infection of ostriches with Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus. Epidemiol Infect; 121: 427-432.

 9. Tomori O, Bertolli J, Rollin PE, Guimard Y, De Roo A, Fleerackers Y, Feldmann H, Burt F, Swanepoel R, Killian S, Khan AS, Tchioko K, Bwaka M, NDambe R, Peters CJ, Ksiazek TG.  (1999). Serological survey among hospital and health center workers during the Ebola hemorrhagic outbreak in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of Congo, 1995. J Infect Dis; 179(Suppl 1): S98-S101.

 10. Ksiazek TG, Rollin PE, Williams AJ, Bressler DS, Martin ML, Swanepoel R, Burt FJ, Leman PA, Khan AS, Rowe AK, Mukunu R, Sanchez, A, Peters CJ. (1999). Clinical virology of Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF): virus, virus antigen, and IgG and IgM antibody findings among EHF patients in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1995. J Infect Dis; 179(Suppl 1): S177-S187.

 11. Dunster L, Dunster M, Ofula V, Beti D, Kazoomba-Voskop F, Burt F, Swanepoel R, DeCock KM. (2002). First documentation of human Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Kenya. Emerg Infect Dis; 8: 1005-1006.

 12. Burt FJ, Grobbelaar AA, Leman PA, Anthony FS, Gibson GVF, Swanepoel R. (2002). Phylogenetic relationships of southern African West Nile virus isolates. Emerg Infect Dis; 8: 820-826.

 13. Jupp PG, Kemp A, Grobebbelaar A, Leman P, Burt FJ, Alahmed AM, Almujalli D, AlKhames M, Swanepoel R. (2002). The 2000 epidemic of Rift Valley fever in Saudi Arabia: mosquito vector studies. Med Vet Entomol, 16: 1-8.

 14. Paweska JT, Burt FJ, Anthony FA, Smith SJ, Grobbelaar AA, Croft JE, Ksiazek TG, Swanepoel R. (2003). IgG-sandwich and IgM-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the detection of antibody to Rift Valley fever virus in domestic ruminants. J Virol Methods; 113: 103-112.

 15. Onyango CO,  Ofula VO,  Sang RC, Coldren RL, De Cock KM, Konongoi SL, Tukei PM,   Okoth FA, Swanepoel R, Burt FJ, Waters NC, Sow A. (2004). Laboratory-based diagnosis of yellow fever virus outbreak in Imatong, South Sudan. Emerg Infect Dis; 10: 1064-1078.

 16. Onyango CO, Grobbelaar AA, Gibson GVF, Sang RC, Sow A, Swanepoel R, Burt FJ. (2004).Yellow fever outbreak in southern Sudan, 2003. Emerg Infect Dis; 10:1668-1670.

 17. Paweska JT, Burt FJ, Swanepoel R. (2005). Validation of IgG and IgM-capture ELISA for the detection of antibody to Rift Valley fever virus in humans. J Virol Methods; 124:173-181.

 18. Venter M, Myers TG, Wilson MA, Kindt TJ, Paweska JT, Burt FJ, Leman PA, Swanepoel R. (2005). Gene expression in mice infected with West Nile virus strains of different neurovirulence. Virology; 10: 119-140.

 19. Burt FJ, Swanepoel R. (2005). Molecular epidemiology of African and Asian Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever isolates. Epidemiol Infect; 133: 659-666.

 20. Bausch DG, Nichol ST, Muyembe-Tamfum JJ, Borchert M, Rollin PE, Sleurs H, Campbell P, Tshioko FK, Roth C, Colebunders R, Pirard P, Mardel S, Olinda LA, Zeller H, Tshomba A, Kulidri A, Libande ML, Mulangu S, Formenty P, Grein T, Ksiazek T, Zaki S, Smit S, Leman PA, Burt FJ, Kemp A, Swanepoel R. (2006). An Outbreak of Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever Associated with Multiple Genetic Lineages of Virus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1998-2000," N Engl J Med; 355: 909-919.

 21. Swanepoel R, Smit SB, Rollin PE, Formenty P, Leman PA, Kemp A, Burt FJ. Grobbelaar AA et al., (2007). Marburg virus reservoir host studies. Emerg Infect Dis; 13: 1847-1851.

 22 Coetzee P, Markotter W, Paweska JT, Burt FJ, Weyer J, Nel LH. (2008). Use of a molecular epidemiological database to track human rabies case histories in South Africa. Epidemiol Infect; 26: 1-7.

 23. M. Heise, A. Whitmore, J. Thompson, J. Paweska, K. Madric, L. White, A Grobbelaar, A Kemp, R. Swanepoel, Burt FJ. (2009). An alphavirus replicon derived candidate vaccine against Rift Valley fever virus. Epidemiol Infect; 137: 1309-1318.

 24. Burt FJ, Paweska JT, Ashkettle B, Swanepoel R. (2009). Genetic relationship among southern African Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus isolates and evidence for occurrence of reassortment. Epidemiol Infect; 137: 1302-1308.

 25. Venter M, Burt FJ, Blumberg L, Fikl H, Paweska J, Swanepoel R. (2009) Cytokine induction following laboratory acquired West Nile virus meningo-encephalitis. New Engl J Med; 12: 1260-1262.

 27. Kondiah K, Swanepoel R, Paweska JT, Burt FJ. (2010). A Simple-Probe real-time PCR assay for genotyping reassorted and non-reassorted isolates of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus in southern Africa. J Virol Methods; 169: 34-38.

 28. Seedat RY, Thukane M, Jansen AC, Rossouw I, Goedhals D, Burt FJ .(2010). HPV types causing juvenile recurrent laryngeal papillomatosis in South Africa. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngo; 74: 255-259.

 29. Grolla A, Jones SM, Fernando L, Strong JE, Ströher U, Möller P, Paweska JT, Burt F, Pablo Palma P, Sprecher A, Formenty P, Roth C, Feldmann H. (2011). The use of a mobile laboratory unit in support of patient management and epidemiological surveillance during the 2005 Marburg Outbreak in Angola. PLoS Negl Trop Dis; 5: e1183.

30. Jones P, Cordonnier N, Mahamba C, Burt FJ, Rakotovao F, Swanepoel R, André C, Dauger S, Bakkali Kassimi L. (2011). Encephalomyocarditis virus mortality in semi-wild bonobos (Pan panicus). J Med Primatol; 40: 157-163.

31. Burt FJ. (2011). Laboratory diagnosis of Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever virus infections. Future Virology; 6: 831-841.

32.  Combrinck CE, Seedat RY, Randall C, Roodt Y, Burt FJ. (2012). Novel HPV-6 variants of human papillomavirus causing recurrent respiratory papillomatosis in southern Africa. Epidemiol Infect; 140: 1095-1101.

 33. Samudzi RR, Leman PA, Paweska JT, Swanepoel R, Burt FJ. (2012). Bacterial expression of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus nucleoprotein and its evaluation as a diagnostic reagent in an indirect ELISA. J Virol Methods; 179: 70-76.

 34. Burt FJ, Rolph M, Rulli NE, Mahalingam S Heise MT. (2012). Chikungunya: a re-emerging virus. The Lancet. 379: 662-671.

 35. Carroll S, Towner J, Sealy T, McMullan L, Khristova M, Burt F, Swanepoel R, Rollin P, Nichol S. (2012). Molecular evolution of viruses of the family Filoviridae based on 97 whole genome sequences. J Virol; 87: 2608-2616.                                                                                                                      

 36. Combrinck CE, Seedat RY, Burt FJ. (2013). FRET-based detection and genotyping of HPV-6 and HPV-11 causing recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. J Virol Methods; 189: 271-276.

 37. Seedat R, Burt FJ, Combrinck C. (2013). Human papillomavirus associated with recurrent laryngeal papillomatosis. Future Virology. 8: 5 477-492. .

 38. Burt FJ, Samudzi RR, Randall C, Pieters C, Vermeulen J, Knox CM. (2013). Human defined antigenic region on the nucleoprotein of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus identified using truncated proteins and a bioinformatics approach. J Virol Methods. 193: 706-712.

 39. Rangunwala A, Samudzi RR, Burt FJ. (2014). Detection of IgG antibody against Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus using ELISA with recombinant nucleoprotein antigens from genetically diverse strains. Epidemiol Infect. 142:2147-54.

 40. Goedhals D, Paweska JT, Swanepoel R, Bester PA, Burt FJ. (2014). Next generation sequencing of southern Africa Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus isolates reveals a high frequency of M segment reassortment. Epidemiol Infect  142(9):1952-62.

 41. Mathengtheng L, Burt FJ. (2014) Use of envelope domain III protein for detection and differentiation of flaviviruses in the Free State province, South Africa. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis 14: 261-271.

 42. Jelen MM, Chen Z, Kocjan BJ, Burt FJ,  et al. (2014) Global genomic diversity of human papillomavirus type 6 (HPV6) based on 724 isolates and 190 complete genome sequences. J Virol. 1;88(13):7307-16.

 43. Goedhals D, Paweska JT, Burt FJ. (2015) Identification of linear B-cell epitopes on the envelope glycoproteins of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus. Epidemiol Infect 143(7), 1451-1456.

 44. Goedhals D, Bester PA, Paweska JT, Swanepoel R, Burt FJ. (2015) Comparative analysis of the L, M and S RNA segments of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus isolates from southern Africa. J Med Virol  87(5):717–724.

 45. Burt FJ, Chen W, Mahalingham S. Chikungunya virus and arthritic disease: mechanism and potential risk factor for severe disease. (Commentary) Lancet Infect Dis 2014; 14:789-790.

 46. Seedat RY, Combrinck CE, Bester PA, Lee J-Y, Burt FJ. Determination of the complete genome and functional analysis of HPV6 isolate VBD19/10 from a patient with aggressive recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. Epidemiol Infect (accepted 2016)


Chapters in Books


1. Swanepoel R, Burt FJ. Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever. In: Infectious Diseases of Livestock (eds JAW Coetzer, RC Tustin) 2nd Edition. Cape Town: Oxford University Press Southern Africa, 2004.

 2. Burt FJ, Swanepoel R. Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. In: Tickborne infections of humans. (eds JL Goodman, D Sonenshine, DT Dennis). Herndon: American Society for Microbiology, 2005.

3. Burt FJ, Paweska JT, Swanepoel R. Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever in South Africa. In Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever. (eds C Whitehouse, O Ergonul) Springer Press. 2007.

4. Swanepeol R, Burt FJ. Flaviviruses of veterinary importance 3rd edition. Encyclopedia of Virology. (ed B Mahy, MHV van Regenmortel, C Calisher) Elsevier. 2008.

5. Swanepeol R, Burt FJ. Bunyaviridae . In Zoonoses (ed B Mahy) John Wiley and Sons. 2009.

6. Burt FJ, Goedhals D%

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