Numerous unknown factors influence anthrax epidemiology in multi-host systems, especially at wildlife/livestock/human interfaces. Serology tests for anti-anthrax antibodies in carnivores are useful tools in identifying the presence or absence of Bacillus anthracis in a range. These were employed to ascertain if the disease pattern followed the recognized high and low risk anthrax zonation in Zimbabwe and also to establish if anthrax was absent from Hwange National Park in which there has been no reported outbreaks. African lions (Panthera leo) (n= 114) drawn from -free-range protected areas and captive game parks located in recognized high and low risk zones across Zimbabwe were tested for antibodies to anthrax PA antigen using the ELISA immunoassay. A random selection of 27 lion sera samples comprising 17 sero-positive and 10 sero-negative sera were further tested in the species-independent toxin neutralization assay (TNA) in order to validate the former as a surveillance tool for anthrax in African lions. Using the ELISA-PA immunoassay, 21.9% (25/114) of the lions tested positive for antibodies to anthrax. Seropositivity was recorded in all study areas and there was no significant difference (p= 0.852) in seropositivity between lions in high and low risk anthrax zones. Also, there was no significant difference (McNemar’s χ2 = 0.9, p = 0.343) in the proportion of lions testing positive to anti-PA anthrax antibodies on ELISA-PA immunoassay compared to the TNA, with fair agreement between the two tests [Kappa (K) statistic = 0.30; 0.08
Susceptibility of turkeys, chickens and chicken embryos to SARS-CoV-2 virus was evaluated by experiment inoculation. Turkeys and chickens were inoculated using a combination of intranasal, oral and ocular routes. Both turkeys and chickens did not develop clinical disease or antibodies to the virus following inoculation. Viral RNA was not detected in oral and cloacal swabs and in tissues using quantitative real-time RT-PCR. In addition, chicken embryos were inoculated using the yolk sac, intravenous, chorioallantoic membrane and allantoic cavity routes did not support replication of the virus. SARS-COV-2 virus does not affect both turkeys and chickens in the current genetic state and does not pose any potential risk to establish in both species of domestic poultry.
The activity of influenza A at the end of 2019 was higher than previous two years in children younger than 6 years old in Wuhan, China. The 2019-20 seasonal influenza winter outbreak preceded the COVID-19 outbreak, with a higher and earlier peak than that of the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. We speculate this could be due to the earlier CNY holiday season in 2019-20 than in previous two years. We compared these results with those of two previous studies to further discuss the possible interference between influenza and COVID-19 in young children.
Vectors of emerging infectious diseases have expanded their distributional ranges in recent decades due to increased global travel, trade connectivity, and climate change. Transboundary range shifts, arising from the continuous movement of humans and livestock across borders, are of particular disease control concern. Several tick-borne diseases are known to circulate between eastern Uganda and the western counties of Kenya, with one fatal case of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) reported in 2000 in Western Kenya. Recent reports of CCHF in Uganda have highlighted the risk of cross-border disease translocation and the importance of establishing inter-epidemic, early warning systems to detect possible outbreaks. We therefore carried out surveillance of tick-borne zoonotic pathogens at livestock markets and slaughterhouses in three counties of western Kenya that neighbour Uganda. Ticks and other ectoparasites were collected from livestock and identified using morphological keys. The two most frequently sampled tick species were Rhipicephalus decoloratus (35%) and Amblyomma variegatum (30%), and Ctenocephalides felis fleas and Haematopinus suis lice were also present. In total 486 ticks, lice, and fleas were screened for pathogen presence using established molecular workflows incorporating high-resolution melting analysis and identified through PCR-sequencing of PCR products. We detected CCHF virus in Rh. decoloratus and Rhipicephalus sp. cattle ticks and 82 of 96 pools of Am. variegatum were positive for Rickettsia africae. Apicomplexan protozoa and bcteria of veterinary importance, such as Theileria parva, Babesia bigemina, and Anaplasma marginale, were primarily detected in rhipicephaline ticks. Our findings show the presence of several pathogens of public health and veterinary importance in ticks from livestock at livestock markets and slaughterhouses in western Kenya. Confirmation of CCHF virus, a Nairovirus that causes haemorrhagic fever with a high case fatality rate in humans, highlights the risk of under-diagnosed zoonotic diseases and calls for continuous surveillance and the development of preventative measures.
Influenza A virus (IAV) outbreaks constitute a constant threat to public health and pose a remarkable impact on socio-economic systems worldwide. Interactions between wild and domestic birds, humans, and swine can lead to spillover events. Backyard livestock systems in proximity to wetlands represent a high-risk area for viral spread. However, some gaps remain in our knowledge of IAV transmission at the wildlife – livestock interface in Mexico. Hence, the study aimed at molecular identification and phylogenetic characterization of IAV in the wild duck – backyard livestock interface at a wetland of Mexico. A total of 875 animals were tested by real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). We detected IAV in 3.68% of the wild ducks sampled during the winter season 2016 – 2017. Nonetheless, the samples obtained from backyard poultry and swine tested negative. The highest IAV frequency (11.10%) was found in the Mexican duck (Anas diazi). Subtypes H1N1, H3N2, and H5N2 were detected. Phylogenetic analysis of influenza viruses isolated from wild ducks of the Lerma marshes revealed that hemagglutinin (HA) gene sequences were related to waterfowl, swine, and poultry IAV strains previously isolated in the United States and Mexico. In conclusion, the co-circulation of three IAV subtypes in wild ducks close to backyard farms in Mexico, as well as, the local identification of HA gene sequences genetically related to Mexican livestock IAV strains and also to North American waterfowl IAV strains, highlight the importance of the Lerma marshes for influenza surveillance given the close interaction among wild birds, poultry, pigs, and humans.
A new Respirovirus, Porcine parainfluenzavirus type 1 (PPIV-1) was first identified in 2013 in Hong Kong and later in the USA. Here, we report the first detection of PPIV-1 outside these two regions. Our research group has analyzed 15–15 (3–3 piglets from five litters) nasal swab samples obtained from three-week-old piglets originating from 22 Hungarian farms altogether from which only one farm was found to be positive. Subsequently, 20–20 nasal swab samples were obtained from 2, 4, 6 and 8-week-old piglets of this farm. Virus detection by qRT-PCR showed that although all investigated age groups were positive to PPIV-1, higher number of infected animals and higher viral loads were found among 4-year-old animals. Based on the phylogenetic analyses of partial F and L genes, the 3 Hungarian strains are almost identical and are highly similar to the very first PPIV-1 genome submitted from Hong Kong in 2013, whereas the overall genetic difference compared to the recently described North American isolates was around 10%.
Rotaviruses (RVs) are a major cause of viral gastroenteritis in both animals and humans worldwide. According to the molecular and serological properties of Viral Protein 6 (VP6), RVs are classified into nine species or groups (RVA-RVD and RVF-RVJ). RVA, RVB and RVC are well-recognized as etiological agents of enteric disease on swine farms and have been identified in all countries with a relevant pork production. Contrarily, RVH has only been identified on swine farms from Japan and more recently from Brazil, USA, South Africa and Vietnam but not yet in Europe. The occurrence of RVH was investigated in 103 Spanish pig herds. Nine farms were positive and the complete nucleotide sequences were achieved for four RVH isolates. Mean nucleotide identities with the RVH sequences available in GenBak ranged between 69.4 and 93.7 %. Phylogenetically, all genomic segments of Spanish RVH isolates clustered closely with other porcine RVH strains but were distantly related to human RVH as well as bat RVH strain. Moreover, based on the available tentative genotyping system for RVH, a new genotype for VP7 was proposed. To the best of our knowledge this is the first report of RVH on swine farms in Europe including its characterization by means of complete genome sequencing.
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB), caused by Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) infection, is a multi-host disease which negatively affects the wildlife industry, with adverse consequences for conservation, ecotourism, and game/wildlife sales. Although interspecies transmission has been reported between some wildlife hosts, the risk of spread in complex ecosystems is largely unknown. As a controlled disease, tools for accurate detection of M. bovis infection is crucial for effective surveillance and management, especially in wildlife populations. There are however, limited species-specific diagnostic tests available for wildlife. Hippopotamuses are rarely tested for M. bovis infection and infection has not previously been confirmed in these species. In this study, blood and tissue samples collected from common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) residing in a bTB endemic area, the Greater Kruger Protected area (GKPA), were retrospectively screened to determine whether there was evidence for interspecies transmission of M. bovis, and to identify tools for M. bovis detection in this species. Using the multi-species DPP® VetTB serological assay, a bTB seroprevelance of 8% was found in hippopotamus from GKPA. In addition, the first confirmed case of M. bovis infection in a free-ranging common hippopotamus is reported, based on the isolation in mycobacterial culture, genetic speciation, and detection of DNA in tissue samples. Importantly, the M. bovis spoligotype (SB0121) isolated from this common hippopotamus is shared with other M. bovis-infected hosts in GKPA, suggesting interspecies transmission. These results support the hypothesis that M. bovis infection may be under recognized in hippopotamus. Further investigation is needed to determine the risk of interspecies transmission of M. bovis to common hippopotamus in bTB endemic ecosystems and evaluate serological and other diagnostic tools in this species.
Leptospirosis has been widely reported in insular environments worldwide, characterizing a major public health threat. Although low genetic biodiversity is expected in these regions, the introduction of domestic and synanthropic mammals may contribute to the wider diversity leptospiral strains in insular settings. This study proposes a large-scale investigation of Leptospira infection in animals from Fernando de Noronha archipelago, Brazil. A total of 1,265 blood samples from domestic (n=682), synanthropic (n=133) and wild (n=450) animals were collected between 2007 and 2014, totaling 12 species. The presence of anti-Leptospira spp. antibodies was investigated by the Microscopic Agglutination Test (MAT) and kidney samples from synanthropic rodents were collected for the isolation of Leptospira spp. The leptospires recovered were further characterized by MAT with polyclonal antibodies, whole genome sequencing and Multilocus Sequence Typing (MLST). The MAT results revealed the presence of agglutinins in 90 samples (7.1%), and the most frequently found serogroup was Icterohaemorrhagiae (n=57) in practically all species included. Viable leptospires were recovered from one brown rat, and characterization revealed that the isolate belongs to L. interrogans serogroup Pyrogenes. This study stands as the most comprehensive investigation of Leptospira spp. infection in Fernando de Noronha archipelago, also providing the characterization of the first leptospiral strain ever isolated from an insular setting in Brazil. The results suggest that synanthropic rodents play a major role in the transmission of leptospirosis among wildlife and domestic species in the archipelago.
Amongst newly developed approaches to analyse molecular data, phylodynamic models are receiving much attention because of their potential to reveal changes to viral populations over short periods. This knowledge can be very important for understanding disease impacts. However, their accuracy needs to be fully understood, especially in relation to wildlife disease epidemiology, where sampling and prior knowledge may be limited. The release of the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) as biological control in naïve rabbit populations in Australia in 1996 provides a unique dataset with which to validate phylodynamic models. By comparing the results obtained for RHDV1 with our current understanding of the RHDV epidemiology in Australia, we evaluated the performances of these recently developed models. In line with our expectations, coalescent analyses detected a sharp increase in the virus trajectory in the first few months after the virus release, followed by a more gradual increase. The phylodynamic analyses with a birth-death tree prior generated effective reproductive number estimates (the average number of secondary infections per each infectious case, Re) larger than one for most of the epochs considered. However, the possible range of the initial Re included estimates lower than one despite the known rapid spread of RHDV1 in Australia. Furthermore, the analyses that took into account the geographical structuring failed to converge. We argue that the difficulties that we encountered most likely stem from the fact that the samples available from 1996 to 2014 were too sparse with respect to geographic and within outbreak coverage to adequately infer some of the model parameters. In general, while these Bayesian analyses proved to be greatly informative in some regards, we caution that their interpretation may not be straight forward and recommend further research in evaluating the robustness of these models to assumption violations and sensitivity to sampling regimes.
Conventional piglets were inoculated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) through different routes, including intranasal, endotracheal, intramuscular and intravenous ones. Although piglets were not susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and lacked lesions or viral RNA in tissues/swabs, seroconversion was observed in pigs inoculated parenterally (intramuscularly or intravenously).
Understanding hobby beekeepers’ perception of risks affecting bee health and mortality is essential to analyse the reasons for adopting or rejecting good management practices. A perception survey on how beekeepers perceive and manage risks related to climate change, Varroa infestation, management practices, and pesticide exposure was designed and launched online. This unpreceded sociological survey involved 355 beekeepers spread all over Belgium. A two-sample t-test with unequal variances comparing beekeepers with colony mortality rates below or exceeding the acceptable level, i.e. <10% and ≥10%, indicates that beekeepers (N=213), with colony mortality rates <10% generally have greater levels of perceived risk and the benefits of action that lead to increased motivation to act in better ways. The results of this survey highlight the importance of taking socio-economic determinants into account in any risk mitigation strategy associated with bee mortality when dealing with hobby beekeepers.
Abstract: Armadillos are specialist diggers and their burrows are used to find food, seek shelter and protect their pups. These burrows can also be shared with dozens of vertebrate and invertebrate species and; consequently, their parasites including the zoonotics. The aim of this study was to diagnose the presence of zoonotic parasites in four wild-caught armadillo species from two different Brazilian ecosystems, the Cerrado (Brazilian savanna) and the Pantanal (wetland). The investigated parasites and their correspondent diseases were: Toxoplasma gondii (toxoplasmosis), Trypanosoma cruzi (Chagas disease), Leishmania spp., (leishmaniasis), Paracoccidioides spp. (Paracoccidioidomicosis) and Mycobacterium leprae (Hansen’s disease). Forty-three free-living armadillos from Pantanal and seven road-killed armadillos from the Cerrado were sampled. Trypanosoma cruzi DTU TcIII were isolated from 2 out of 43 (4.65%) armadillos, including one of them also infected with Trypanosoma rangeli. Antibodies anti-T. gondii were detected in 13 out of 43 (30.2%) armadillos. All seven armadillos from Cerrado tested positive for Paracoccidioides brasiliensis DNA, in the lungs, spleen, liver and ear fragments. Also, by molecular analysis, all 43 individuals were negative for M. leprae and Leishmania spp. Armadillos were infected by T. cruzi, T. rangeli, P. brasiliensis, and presented seric antibodies to T. gondii, highlighting the importance of those armadillos could have in the epidemiology of zoonotic parasites. Key words: Cingulata, Trypanosoma cruzi, Toxoplasma gondii, Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Mycobacterium leprae, Leishmania sp.
Being able to link clinical outcomes to SARS-CoV-2 virus strains is a critical component of understanding COVID-19. Here we discuss how current processes hamper sustainable data collection to enable meaningful analysis and insights. Following ‘Fast Healthcare Interoperable Resource’ implementation guide, we introduce an ontology-based standard questionnaire to overcome these shortcomings and describe patient “journeys” in coordination with the World Health Organization. We identify steps in the clinical health data acquisition cycle and workflows that likely have the biggest impact in the data-driven understanding of this virus.
Anthrax is a natural foci disease in Inner Mongolia, which poses a severe threat to public health. In this study, the incidence number, rate, and constituent ratio were used to describe the epidemiological characteristics of anthrax in the region from 1956–2018. The molecular correlation and genetic characteristics of the strains were investigated using canonical single-nucleotide polymorphisms (CanSNP), multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA-15), and whole genome sequencing (WGS). The epidemiological characteristics of anthrax in Inner Mongolia have altered significantly. The incidence was decreased annually, the regional distribution of anthrax gradually transferred from central and western regions to the eastern. Moreover, the occupation distribution was evolved from multiple early occupations to predominated by farmers and herdsmen. This indicates that reformulate the control and prevention strategies is essential. Both A. Br. Ames and A. Br. 001/002 subgroups were the predominant CanSNP genotypes of Bacillus anthracis in Inner Mongolia. A total of 36 strains constituted six shared MLVA-15 genotypes, suggesting an epidemiological link between the strains of each shared genotype. The six shared genotypes ((GT1, 9, 11, and 15) and (GT8 and 12)) consisting of 2–7 strains confirmed the occurrence of multiple point outbreaks and cross-regional transmission caused by multiple common sources of infection. Phylogenetic analysis based on the core genome showed that strains from this study formed an independent clade (CⅢ), suggesting a common origin. Moreover, B. anthracis showed a high genetic similarity with strain from Japan and South Korea, the strains from this study may be originated from Japan.
Since 2007, African swine fever virus (ASFV) has spread to countries in Europe, Asia and Oceania, and has caused devastating impacts on pigs and the pork industry. Transmission can be direct or indirect, and epidemiologic scenarios have been described in which spread occurs between free-living and domestic pigs. The purpose of this scoping review was to identify primary research in which authors made statements to support ASFV transmission between free-living and domestic pigs and assess the circumstances in which transmission events occurred. A search was conducted in five bibliographic databases and the grey literature. Two reviewers (from a team of ten) independently screened each record and charted data (demographics of the pig populations, their husbandry [domestic pigs] and habitat [free-living pigs], the spatial and temporal distribution of ASF, the occurrence or burden of ASF in the populations, and whether ticks were present in the geographic range of the pig populations). Data synthesis included statistics and a narrative summary. From 1,349 records screened, data were charted from 46 individual studies published from 1985 to 2020. Outbreak investigations revealed that whilst poor biosecurity of domestic pig operations was often reported, direct contact resulting in transmission between free-living and domestic pigs was rarely reported. Studies in which quantitative associations were made generally found that spread within populations was more important than spread between populations, although this was not always the case, particularly when domestic pigs were free-ranging. We conclude that there is limited evidence that transmission of ASFV between free-living and domestic pigs is an important feature of ASF epidemiology, especially in the current ASF epidemic in Europe and the Russian Federation. If ASFV elimination cannot be achieved in free-living pigs, compartmentalisation of free-living and domestic pig populations via biosecurity strategies could be used to support trade of domestic pigs.
The current COVID-19 global pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) of probable bat origin, has highlighted the ongoing need for a One Health response to emerging zoonotic disease events, which are significantly increasing over time. Understanding the human-animal interface and its relevance to disease transmission remains a critical control point for many emerging zoonoses. Determination of the susceptibility of various animal species to infection with SARS-CoV-2 and the role of animals in the epidemiology of the disease will be critical to informing appropriate human and veterinary public health responses to this pandemic. A scoping literature review was conducted to collect, evaluate and present the available research evidence regarding SARS-CoV-2 infections in animals. Experimental studies have successfully demonstrated SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission in cats, ferrets, hamsters, bats and non-human primates under experimental settings. Dogs appear to have limited susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2, while other domestic species including pigs and poultry do not appear susceptible. Naturally occurring SARS-CoV-2 infections in animals appear uncommon, with 14 pets, 8 captive big cats and an unreported number of farmed mink testing positive to date. Infections typically appear asymptomatic in dogs, while clinical signs of respiratory and/or gastrointestinal disease tend to be mild to moderate in felines, and severe to fatal in mink. Most animal cases have been infected by close contact with COVID-19 patients. In domestic settings, viral transmission is self-limiting, however in high density animal environments there can be sustained between-animal transmission. To date, two potential cases of animal-to-human transmission are being investigated, on infected mink farms. Given the millions of COVID-19 cases worldwide and ongoing potential for further zoonotic and anthroponotic viral transmission, further research and surveillance activities are needed to definitively determine the role of animals in community transmission of SARS-CoV-2.