African swine fever (ASF) has spread across many countries in Europe since the introduction into Georgia in 2007. We report here on the first cases of ASF in wild boar detected in Germany close to the border with Poland. In addition to the constant risk of ASF virus (ASFV) spread through human activities, movements of infected wild boar also represent a route of introduction. Since ASF emerged in Western Poland in November 2019, surveillance efforts, in particular examination of wild boar found dead, were intensified in the regions of Germany bordering with Poland. The first case of ASF in wild boar in Germany was therefore detected by passive surveillance and confirmed on 10th September 2020. By 24th September 2020, 32 cases were recorded. Testing of samples from tissues of carcasses in different stages of decomposition yielded cycle threshold values from 18 to 36 in the OIE-recommended PCR which were comparable between the regional and national reference laboratory. Blood swabs yielded reliable results, indicating that the method is suitable also under outbreak conditions. Phylogenetic analysis of the ASFV whole-genome sequence generated from material of the first carcass detected in Germany, revealed that it groups with ASFV genotype II including all sequences from Eastern Europe, Asia and Belgium. However, some genetic markers including a 14 bp tandem repeat duplication in the O174L gene were confirmed that have so far been detected only in sequences from Poland (including Western Poland). Epidemiological investigations that include estimated postmortem intervals of wild boar carcasses of infected animals suggest that ASFV had been introduced into Germany in the first half of July 2020 or even earlier.
In May 2020, Deng et al. (2020) published their article providing the evidence that no SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies were detected in 1,914 samples which excluded the possibility of 35 animal species as intermediate host for SARS-CoV-2 in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. In order to ensure the stability of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies in storage serum samples, we strongly suggest that standard serum banks should be established.
Recently, a wound dressing formulation, (Tri-Solfen®, Medical Ethics Pty Ltd, Australia; TS) registered for use in ruminant husbandry in Australia, was registered for Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) therapy in large ruminants in Laos, following clinical observations of improved welfare and healing following treatment of FMD lesions. In November 2019, an FMD outbreak in Cameroon provided an opportunity for a field trial, comparing clinical responses and recoveries to treatments on a sample of cattle (n = 36) comprising three equal groups of animals (n = 12), comparing responses to three treatments:(i) the application to lesions of TS, (ii) the administration of parenteral oxytetraycline commonly used for FMD in Cameroon; and (iii) an untreated control group (C). Appetite scores, lesion healing scores, and changes in dimensions of lesions, were recorded over a 15-day study period. Cattle treated with TS achieved both superior appetite and lesion healing scores with more rapid reduction in dimensions of lesions than other groups. Farmer observations indicated the TS treatment group had a more rapid return to eating with cessation of excessive salivation, and more rapid return of mobility (walking) with absence of overt lameness. The findings indicate that although mortality is usually low in FMD outbreaks, the disease is a debilitating and painful disorder with negative animal welfare impacts that should be addressed. All farmers expressed their desire that the product be made available for use in their region and modelling indicates that TS therapy imposes no additional financial burden on farmers, with the treatment likely to be provided at a similar or reduced cost to current treatment choices. As use of antibiotics for treatment of a viral disease potentially increases pressures for development of antimicrobial resistance and residues in the food chain, TS as an alternative non-antimicrobial therapy should be promoted for wider use in FMD outbreaks.
African swine fever virus (ASFV) can survive in soy-based products for 30 days with T ½ ranging from 9.6-12.9 days in soybean meals and soy oil cake. As the US imports soy-based products from several ASFV-positive countries, knowledge of the type and quantity of these specific imports, and their ports of entry (POE), is necessary information to manage risk. Using the data from the International Trade Commission Harmonized Tariff Schedule website in conjunction with pivot tables, we analyzed imports across air, land, and sea POE of soy-based products from 43 ASFV-positive countries to the US during 2018 and 2019. In 2018, 104,366 metric tons (MT) of soy-based products, specifically conventional and organic soybean meal, soybeans, soy oil cake and soy oil were imported from these countries into the US via seaports only. The two largest suppliers were China (52.7 %, 55,034 MT) and the Ukraine (42.9%, 44,775 MT). In 2019, 73,331 MT entered the US and 54.7% (40,143 MT) came from the Ukraine and 8.4% (6,182 MT) from China. Regarding POE, 80.9% to 83.2% of soy-based imports from China entered the US at the seaports of San Francisco, CA and Seattle, WA, while 89.4% to 100% entered from the Ukraine via the seaports of New Orleans, LA and Charlotte, NC. Analysis of five-year trends (2015 to 2019) of the volume of soy imports from China indicated reduction over time (with a noticeably sharp decrease between 2018 and 2019), and seaport utilization was consistent. In contrast, volume remained high for Ukrainian soy imports, and seaport utilization was inconsistent. Overall, this exercise introduced a new approach to collect objective data on an important risk factor, providing researchers, government officials, and industry stakeholders a means to objectively identify and quantify potential channels of foreign animal disease entry into the US.
Myxomatosis is an emergent disease in Iberian hare, having been considered a rabbit disease for decades. Genome sequencing of the strains obtained from affected Iberian hares showed to be distinct from the classical strains that circulated in rabbits since the virus introduction in Europe, in 1952. The main genomic difference concerns the presence of an additional 2.8Kb region disrupting the M009L gene and adding a set of genes with homology to the MYXV genes M060R, M061, M064 and M065R originated in poxviruses. After the emergence of this recombinant virus (MYXV-Tol or ha-MYXV), in the summer of 2019, the recombinant MYXV was not detected in rabbit surveys suggesting apparent species segregation with the MYXV classic strains persistently circulating in rabbits. Recently, a group of six unvaccinated European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus cuniculus) from a backyard rabbitry in the South Portugal, developed signs of myxomatosis (anorexia, dyspnoea, oedema of eyelids, head, ears, external genitals and anus, and skin myxomas in the base of the ears), five of them dying within 24-48 hours of symptoms onset. Molecular analysis revealed that only the recombinant myxoma virus was present. This is the first documented report of a recombinant myxoma virus (ha-MYXV) in farm rabbits associated with high mortality, which aggravates the concern for the future of the Iberian hare and wild rabbits and the safety of the rabbit industry against which the existing vaccines may not be fully protective.
Beijing genotype Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains associate with increased virulence, resistance, and/or higher transmission rates. This study describes a specific Beijing strain predominantly identified in the Panamanian province of Colon with one of the highest incidence of tuberculosis in the country. Retrospective Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive-Unit/Variable-Number of Tandem Repeats analysis of 42 isolates collected between January-August 2018, allowed to identify a cluster (Beijing A) with 17 (40.5%) Beijing isolates. Subsequent prospective strain-specific PCR based surveillance from September 2019 to March 2020, confirmed the predominance of the Beijing A strain (44.1%) in this province. Whole genome sequencing revealed higher-than-expected diversity within the cluster, suggesting long-term prevalence of this strain and low number of cases caused by recent transmission. The Beijing A strain belongs to the Asian African 3 (Bmyc13, L2.2.5) branch of the modern Beijing sublineage, with their closest isolates corresponding to cases from Vietnam, probably introduced in Panama between 2000 and 2012.
There is some evidence that West Nile virus (WNV), which causes encephalomyelitis in equids, is an emerging disease in Europe. The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the seroprevalence of West Nile virus in equids in European countries between 2001 and 2018. Two electronic databases, PubMed and Scopus, were searched for relevant publications published from 2001 to 2018 using predetermined keywords. A total of 1484 papers was initially found. After applying the eligibility criteria, 39 papers were finally included in the systematic review. Analysis of 28,089 equids from 16 European countries revealed a pooled seroprevalence of 8% (95% CI 5–12%, P<0.001, I2 = 99.3%) in Europe. The pooled seroprevalence was slightly higher in Mediterranean basin countries than other countries and when calculated for samples collected between 2001 and 2009 compared to 2010 to 2018. Differences in study design (e.g. sampling associated with recent outbreaks of WNV) contributed to a high degree of variability among studies. Further studies with harmonized study design and reporting of the results are recommended to better estimate and monitor European seroprevalence of West Nile virus in equids.
The raw case fatality rate (CFR, reported number of COVID-19 deaths divided by the number of cases) is a useful indicator to quantify the severity or treatment efficacy in a locality. In many countries, the pandemic showed a two-wave pattern now, namely the daily reported cases once reached a low level and now went up. To our knowledge, no study has compared the CFR for the two waves. In this work, we report that in 53 countries or regions with the highest deaths, the CFR is reduced in 43 countries or regions in the on-going second wave. We discussed the possible reasons. Also, we compare the two-wave pattern of COVID-19 with the weekly influenza positive tests. The influenza activity in pre-pandemic era provided an indicator for climate in a country, since it is well-known that influenza is driven by weather. The sharp drop in 2020 influenza activity is an indicator of the effects of social distancing.
The current COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity to examine the utility of Internet search data in disease modelling across multiple countries. Google Trends data (GTD) indicating the volume of Internet searching on ‘Coronavirus’ were obtained for a range of European countries along with corresponding incident case numbers. Significant positive correlations between GTD with incident case numbers occurred across European countries, with the strongest correlations being obtained using contemporaneous data for most countries. GTD was then integrated into a lag distributed model; this improved model quality for both the increasing and decreasing epidemic phases.
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
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.
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%.
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.
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).
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.