Publications by authors named "Emmanuel Serrano"

78 Publications

Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Protist Infections in Hospital Inpatients in Southwestern China.

Pathogens 2021 May 31;10(6). Epub 2021 May 31.

Parasitology Reference and Research Laboratory, National Centre for Microbiology, Health Institute Carlos III, Majadahonda, 28220 Madrid, Spain.

spp., , , and sp. infections have been frequently reported as etiological agents for gastroenteritis, but also as common gut inhabitants in apparently healthy individuals. Between July 2016 and March 2017, stool samples ( = 507) were collected from randomly selected individuals (male/female ratio: 1.1, age range: 38-63 years) from two sentinel hospitals in Tengchong City Yunnan Province, China. Molecular (PCR and Sanger sequencing) methods were used to detect and genotype the investigated protist species. Carriage/infection rates were: sp. 9.5% (95% CI: 7.1-12.4%), 2.2% (95% CI: 1.1-3.8%); and 2.0% (95% CI: 0.9-3.6%). spp. was not detected at all. Overall, 12.4% (95% CI: 9.7-15.6) of the participants harbored at least one enteric protist species. The most common coinfection was and sp. (1.0%; 95% CI: 0.3-2.2). Sequence analyses revealed that 90.9% (10/11) of the genotyped isolates corresponded to the sub-assemblage AI. The remaining sequence (9.1%, 1/11) was identified as sub-assemblage BIV. Five different subtypes, including ST3 (43.7%, 21/48), ST1 (27.1%, 13/48), ST7 (18.8%, 9/48), ST4 (8.3%, 4/48), and ST2 (2.1%, 1/48) were identified. Statistical analyses confirmed that (i) the co-occurrence of protist infections was purely random, (ii) no associations were observed among the four protist species found, and (iii) neither their presence, individually or jointly, nor the patient's age was predictors for developing clinical symptoms associated with these infections. Overall, these protist mono- or coinfections are asymptomatic and do not follow any pattern.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060684DOI Listing
May 2021

Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy Analysis to Predict Diet Composition of a Mountain Ungulate Species.

Animals (Basel) 2021 May 18;11(5). Epub 2021 May 18.

Ruminant Research Group, Departament de Ciència Animal i dels Aliments, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, 08193 Barcelona, Spain.

The diet composition of ungulates is important to understand not only their impact on vegetation, but also to understand the consequences of natural and human-driven environmental changes on the foraging behavior of these mammals. In this work, we evaluated the use of near infrared reflectance spectroscopy analysis (NIRS), a quick, economic and non-destructive method, to assess the diet composition of the Pyrenean chamois . Fecal samples ( = 192) were collected from two chamois populations in the French and Spanish Pyrenees. Diet composition was initially assessed by fecal cuticle microhistological analysis (CMA) and categorized into four functional groups, namely: woody, herbaceous, graminoid and Fabaceae plants. Regressions of modified partial least squares and several combinations of scattering correction and derivative treatments were tested. The results showed that models based on the second derivative processing obtained the higher determination coefficient for woody, herbaceous and graminoid plants (R, coefficient of determination in calibration, ranged from 0.86 to 0.91). The Fabaceae group, however, was predicted with lower accuracy (R = 0.71). Even though an agreement between NIRS and CMA methods was confirmed by a Bland-Altman analysis, confidence limits of agreement differed by up to 25%. Our results support the viability of fecal NIRS analysis to study spatial and temporal variations of the Pyrenean chamois' diets in summer and winter when differences in the consumption of woody and annual plants are the greatest. This new use for the NIRS technique would be useful to assess the consequences of global change on the feeding behavior of this mountain ungulate and also in other ungulate counterparts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani11051449DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8158497PMC
May 2021

Protective Effect of Intestinal Helminthiasis Against Tuberculosis Progression Is Abrogated by Intermittent Food Deprivation.

Front Immunol 2021 14;12:627638. Epub 2021 Apr 14.

Unitat de Tuberculosi Experimental, Institut Germans Trias i Pujol, UAB, Badalona, Spain.

Background: Tuberculosis (TB) is still a major challenge for humankind. Because regions with the highest incidence also have a high prevalence of helminthiasis and nutritional scarcity, we wanted to understand the impact of these on TB progression.

Methods: We have developed an experimental murine model for active TB in C3HeB/FeJ, coinfected with and nematodes, and exposed to an environmental mycobacterium () and intermittent fasting. Cause-effect relationships among these factors were explored with Partial Least Squares Path modelling (PLSPM).

Results: Previous parasitization had a major anti-inflammatory effect and reduced systemic levels of ADA, haptoglobin, local pulmonary levels of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, CXCL-1, CXCL-5 and IL-10. Oral administration of heat-killed resulted in a similar outcome. Both interventions diminished pulmonary pathology and bacillary load, but intermittent food deprivation reduced this protective effect increasing stress and inflammation. The PLSPM revealed nematodes might have protective effects against TB progression.

Conclusions: Significantly higher cortisol levels in food-deprivation groups showed it is a stressful condition, which might explain its deleterious effect. This highlights the impact of food security on TB eradication policies and the need to prioritize food supply over deworming activities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.627638DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8079633PMC
April 2021

Early life investment in antlers and body growth reflects adult performance in roe deer population under supplementary feeding conditions.

Integr Zool 2021 Mar 16. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Departamento de Sistemas y Recursos Naturales, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.

Recent research has challenged the idea that cervid antlers are such costly traits, supporting the assertion early-life antler investment is an honest signal of adult phenotypic quality. However, inferences were made based on antler measurements while growing (velvet) and thus, studies on fully-formed clean antlers are needed to avoid possible bias caused by the inter-individual variation in antler growth phenology. We studied a semi-captive population of European roe deer inhabiting a sub-Mediterranean area (Valsemana research station) and living under optimal conditions (ad libitum food supply and veterinary care). Based on repeated measurements taken from 146 individuals, we assessed whether allocation to secondary sexual traits during early life affected body mass or antler development during adulthood. Furthermore, we evaluated which body measurements better predicted future male quality. Additionally, using 488 individuals, we described age-class-specific variation in male body measurements and assessed the decline in antler size between adult and senescent stages (i.e. magnitude of senescence). Results agree with the assertion that there is no negative effect of a high investment in antler during early life on adult antler size or body mass, but we suggest the use of clean antlers as a more robust and reliable measure. The variables that better predicted body mass during adulthood were yearling body mass and body size at 6 months. Antler score between 10 and 18 months resulted in the best indicator of adult antler size. Finally, we support the idea that the magnitude of senescence in antler size is smaller in environments with higher resource availability during winter.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1749-4877.12535DOI Listing
March 2021

Reply to Detection of DNA in Urine of a Captive Ocelot ().

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 01 19;18(2). Epub 2021 Jan 19.

Department de Medicina i Cirurgia Animals, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona (UAB), CP 08193 Bellaterra, Spain.

In reply to a comment, we want to mention that we consider this report significant in animal leptospirosis [...].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020796DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7832359PMC
January 2021

Temporal and geographical research trends of antimicrobial resistance in wildlife - A bibliometric analysis.

One Health 2021 Jun 21;11:100198. Epub 2020 Nov 21.

Department of Biology & CESAM, University of Aveiro, Portugal.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a complex and global problem. Despite the growing literature on AMR in the medical and veterinary settings, there is still a lack of knowledge on the wildlife compartment. The main aim of this study was to report the global trends in AMR research in wildlife, through a bibliometric study of articles found in the Web of Science database. Search terms were "ANTIMICROBIAL" OR "ANTIBIOTIC" AND "RESISTANT" OR "RESISTANCE" and "WILDLIFE" "MAMMAL" "BIRD" "REPTILE" "FERAL" "FREE RANGE". A total of 219 articles were obtained, published between 1979 and 2019. A rising interest in the last decades towards this topic becomes evident. During this period, the scientific literature was distributed among several scientific areas, however it became more multidisciplinary in the last years, focusing on the "One Health" paradigm. There was a geographical bias in the research outputs: most published documents were from the United States, followed by Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The most productive institutions in terms of publication number were located in Portugal and Spain. An important level of international collaboration was identified. An analysis of the main keywords showed an overall dominance of "AMR", ", "genes", "prevalence", "bacteria", " spp." and "wild birds". This is the first study providing a global overview of the spatial and temporal trends of research related to AMR in wildlife. Given the growth tendency over the last years, it is envisaged that scientific production will expand in the future. In addition to offering a broad view of the existing research trends, this study identifies research gaps both in terms of geographical incidence and in relation to unexplored subtopics. Unearthing scientific areas that should be explored in the future is key to designing new strategic research agendas in AMR research in wildlife and to inform funding programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.onehlt.2020.100198DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7702190PMC
June 2021

Endemic occurrence of Fasciola hepatica in an alpine ecosystem, Pyrenees, Northeastern Spain.

Transbound Emerg Dis 2020 Oct 4. Epub 2020 Oct 4.

Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie, Università di Torino, Torino, Italy.

Fasciola hepatica is a liver parasite of ruminants whose distribution is determined by its intermediate host, the freshwater snail Galba truncatula. In Europe, F. hepatica is mostly associated with lowlands. Infection from sympatric domestic reservoirs is rarely reported in wild mountain ungulates. This study explores F. hepatica in a multi-host system in a European alpine area. Serum samples (n = 1,209) from Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra p. pyrenaica), European mouflon (Ovis aries musimon), domestic sheep (Ovis aries) and domestic cattle (Bos taurus) were collected in the National Game Reserve of Freser-Setcases (NGRFS) in Catalonia, Northeastern Spain, from 2008 to 2019, and tested for antibodies against F. hepatica. During the same period, the livers of 214 chamois hunted in the NGRFS were inspected for F. hepatica and associated pathological changes. Finally, 907 freshwater snails were collected in summer 2016 between 1559 and 2,224 metres above sea level (asl) in the NGRFS, and F. hepatica DNA sought by PCR. Antibodies against F. hepatica were detected in all four species, with a higher prevalence in cattle and sheep than in chamois. Fasciola hepatica and hepatic lesions were concurrently observed in 13/214 of the chamois livers inspected (6.1%, CI95 2.9%-9.3%). Fasciola hepatica DNA was detected in one out of the 907 snails (0.1%, Cl95 0.1% - 0.3%; Ct value 33.3) and collected at 2054 m asl. Fasciola hepatica was consistently detected in a high mountain multi-host system, suggesting that its life cycle is completed and that it occurs endemically at the highest elevation reported in Europe. Transhumant livestock are the likely source in this alpine ecosystem, which according to rare occurrence of F. hepatica DNA in G. truncatula is still a suboptimal habitat for F. hepatica life cycle. Studying parasites at their highest distribution range can be useful to monitor climate change in seasonal mountain environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.13865DOI Listing
October 2020

Parasite intensity drives fetal development and sex allocation in a wild ungulate.

Sci Rep 2020 09 24;10(1):15626. Epub 2020 Sep 24.

Department of Ecosystem and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.

An understanding of the mechanisms influencing prenatal characteristics is fundamental to comprehend the role of ecological and evolutionary processes behind survival and reproductive success in animals. Although the negative influence of parasites on host fitness is undisputable, we know very little about how parasitic infection in reproductive females might influence prenatal factors such as fetal development and sex allocation. Using an archival collection of Dall's sheep (Ovis dalli dalli), a capital breeder that depends on its body reserves to overcome the arctic winter, we investigated the direct and indirect impacts of the parasite community on fetal development and sex allocation. Using partial least squares modelling, we observed a negative effect of parasite community on fetal development, driven primarily by the nematode Marshallagia marshalli. Principal component analysis demonstrated that mothers with low parasite burden and in good body condition were more likely to have female versus male fetuses. This association was primarily driven by the indirect effect of M. marshalli on ewe body condition. Refining our knowledge of the direct and indirect impact that parasite communities can have on reproduction in mammals is critical for understanding the effects of infectious diseases on wildlife populations. This can be particularly relevant for species living in ecosystems sensitive to the effects of global climate change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-72376-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7518422PMC
September 2020

Comment on: "The treatment of sarcoptic mange in wildlife: a systematic review".

Parasit Vectors 2020 Sep 15;13(1):471. Epub 2020 Sep 15.

Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie, Universitá di Torino, Grugliasco, Torino, Italy.

This letter comments on the article "The treatment of sarcoptic mange in wildlife: a systematic review" published in Parasites & Vectors 2019, 12:99, and discusses the limitations in the use of endectocides for scabies control in free-ranging wildlife. The ecological impact and drug resistance to ivermectin are also discussed. In our view, scabies control in free-ranging wildlife should be based preferably on population management measures, and whether to apply individual treatments to free-ranging populations should be considered very carefully and avoided where not absolutely warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-020-04347-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7491160PMC
September 2020

Detection in Cats in Spain by Serology and Molecular Techniques.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 03 2;17(5). Epub 2020 Mar 2.

Department de Medicina i Cirurgia Animals, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona (UAB), CP 08193 Bellaterra, Espana.

Leptospirosis is the most neglected widespread zoonosis worldwide. In Spain, leptospirosis reports in people and animals have increased lately. Cats can become infected with , as well as be chronic carriers. The aim of this study was to determine serological antibody prevalence against sp., blood DNA, and shedding of DNA from pathogenic species in the urine of cats in Spain. Microagglutination tests (MAT) and blood and urine TaqMan real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were performed. antibodies were detected in 10/244 cats; with 4.1% positive results (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.1-7.18%). Titers ranged from 1:20 to 1:320 (serovars Ballum; Bataviae; Bratislava; Cynopteri; Grippotyphosa Mandemakers; Grippotyphosa Moskva; Pomona; and Proechimys). The most common serovar was Cynopteri. Blood samples from 1/89 cats amplified for DNA (1.12%; 95% CI: 0.05-5.41%). Urine samples from 4/232 cats amplified for DNA (1.72%; 95% CI: 0.55-4.10%). In conclusion free-roaming cats in Spain can shed pathogenic DNA in their urine and may be a source of human infection. Serovars not previously described in cats in Spain were detected; suggesting the presence of at least 4 different species of pathogenic leptospires in the country (; ; ; ).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051600DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7084519PMC
March 2020

Remote mapping of foodscapes using sUAS and a low cost BG-NIR sensor.

Sci Total Environ 2020 May 16;718:137357. Epub 2020 Feb 16.

Wildlife Ecology & Health Group (WE&H), Servei d'Ecopatologia de Fauna Salvatge (SEFaS), Departament de Medicina i Cirurgia Animals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Bellaterra, Spain; Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie, Universitá di Torino, Grugliasco, Torino, Italy. Electronic address:

The assessment of landscape condition for large herbivores, also known as foodscapes, is fast gaining interest in conservation and landscape management programs worldwide. Although traditional approaches are now being replaced by satellite imagery, several technical issues still need to be addressed before full standardization of remote sensing methods for these purposes. We present a low-cost method, based on the use of a modified blue/green/near-infrared (BG-NIR) camera housed on a small-Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS), to create foodscapes for a generalist Mediterranean ungulate: the Iberian Ibex (Capra pyrenaica) in Northeast Spain. Faecal cuticle micro-histological analyses were used to assess the dietary preferences of ibexes and then individuals of the most common plant species (n = 19) were georeferenced to use as test samples. Because of the seasonal pattern in vegetation activity, based on the NDVI (Smooth term  = 21.5, p-value < .01, R = 43%, from a GAM), images were recorded in winter and spring to represent contrasting vegetation phenology using two flight heights above ground level (30 and 60 m). Additionally, the range of image pixel sizes was 3.5-30 cm with the smallest pixel size representing the highest resolution. Boosted Trees were used to classify plant taxa based on spectral reflectance and create a foodscape of the study area. The number of target species, the sampling season, the height of flight and the image resolution were analysed to determine the accuracy of mapping the foodscape. The highest classification error (70.66%) was present when classifying all plant species using a 30 cm pixel size from acquisitions at 30 m height. The lowest error (18.7%), however, was present when predicting plants preferred by ibexes, at 3.5 cm pixel size acquired at 60 m height. This methodology can help to successfully monitor food availability and seasonality and to identify individual species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.137357DOI Listing
May 2020

Wild boar as a reservoir of antimicrobial resistance.

Sci Total Environ 2020 May 23;717:135001. Epub 2019 Nov 23.

Department of Biology & CESAM, University of Aveiro, Portugal.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been recognized as an emerging and growing problem worldwide. Knowledge concerning AMR bacteria circulating in wildlife is currently limited, although it could provide important insights into AMR emergence and persistence. Across Europe, wild boar (Sus scrofa) populations have dramatically increased their distribution and number over the last decades. In the context of AMR dynamics, wild boar is a perfect model species to unveil the emergence, spread and persistence of AMR at the human-livestock-wildlife interface. Here, we summarize the current knowledge on the importance of wild boar as a reservoir of antimicrobial resistant bacteria, and its possible use as sentinel species for surveillance. Analyses of available data showed a rising interest on this topic in the last years, highlighting the growing concern on wild boar potential role as AMR facilitator and it is foreseen that the importance of antimicrobial resistance research in wild boar will continue to increase in years to come. Available studieshave been focused on specific bacterial species, particularlyE. coli, Salmonellaspp. andEnterococcusspp., bioindicators of AMR, and have been mainly conducted in three countries: Spain, Portugal and Germany.Strikingly, AMR surveillance in wild boar is uneven and still poorly allocated as many wild boar high-density countries do not yet have publications on the topic.Overall, accumulated data showed thatwild boar are carriers of antimicrobial resistant bacteria, withvariation in the prevalence of bacterial species and thepercentage of resistance to different antibiotics. Thelack of harmonized sampling and testing protocols makes it difficult to compare AMR in wild boar.The need for the establishment of standardised protocols keen to provide quantitative comparable data is highlighted. We finally suggest the long-term monitoring of wild boar as a sentinel species for AMR surveillance in order to inform public policies on this topic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135001DOI Listing
May 2020

Serologic Evidence of Zoonotic Alphaviruses in Humans from an Indigenous Community in the Peruvian Amazon.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2019 12;101(6):1212-1218

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Alphaviruses (Togaviridae, ) are arthropod-borne single-stranded RNA pathogens that cause febrile and neurologic disease in much of Latin America. However, many features of Alphavirus epidemiology remain unknown. In 2011, we undertook a cross-sectional study in Nueva Esperanza, an indigenous community in the Peruvian Amazon. Here, we present the first serologic evidence of Mayaro (MAYV), Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) complex alphavirus, Una (UNAV), and Madariaga (MADV) viruses reported in humans (24%, 16%, 13%, and 1.5%, respectively) from an Amazonian indigenous community in Peru. Hunting activity and cohabiting with hunters were the main risk factors for Mayaro seroconversion, but only hunting was associated with UNAV seropositivity. Our results suggest that alphavirus infection in this region is common, but we highlight the high UNAV seroprevalence found and corroborate the low MADV prevalence reported in this region. Furthermore, MAYV-neutralizing antibodies were also detected in stored samples from wild animals (18%) hunted by Nueva Esperanza inhabitants and another mestizo community located close to Iquitos. Further serological surveys of VEE complex alphaviruses, UNAV, and MADV in wild animals and assessing the ability of the MAYV seropositive species to transmit the virus will be relevant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.18-0850DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6896884PMC
December 2019

How sensitive and specific is the visual diagnosis of sarcoptic mange in free-ranging Iberian ibexes?

Parasit Vectors 2019 Aug 15;12(1):405. Epub 2019 Aug 15.

Wildlife Ecology & Health group (WE&H) and Servei d'Ecopatologia de Fauna Salvatge (SEFaS), Departament de Medicina i Cirurgia Animals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), 08190, Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Sarcoptic mange is a broadly distributed parasitic disease caused by Sarcoptes scabiei that affects wild mammals from all over the world, including the Iberian ibex (Capra pyrenaica). Selective culling of the scabietic individuals is the main management measure for disease control in Iberian ibex populations. Although visual identification of mange-compatible lesions is the reference method to decide the target individual, both false negative and positive cases are common in the wild. The aim of this work is to determine the sensitivity (SE), and the specificity (SP) of selective culling after evaluating 403 ibexes hunted in the Sierra Nevada Nature Space for sarcoptic mange control between 2002 and 2015.

Methods: A combination of skin scrapings and potassium hidroxide (KOH) skin digestion was used for sarcoptic mange diagnosis. Generalized linear models (GLM) were used to assess the effects of sex, age (juveniles and adults) and period of the year (wet and dry periods) on the SE and SP of the visual diagnosis method.

Results: The SE obtained for the visual determination of scabietic ibexes was 87.14%, whereas the SP was 60.71%. According to our model selection, SE of the visual diagnosis was explained by the additive effects of age and the period of the year. In fact, SE was lower in juveniles (64.76%) than in adults (94.26%) and during the dry period (73.44%) as compared to the wet period (92.09%). On the other hand, SP was best explained by the GLM including the additive effects of sex and the period of the year. The visual diagnosis of sarcoptic mange resulted less specific in females (22.73%) than in males (74.19%) and during the wet (55.22%) than in the dry period (82.35%).

Conclusions: Maximizing SE and SP is essential to achieving a high rate of removal of affected individuals from the environment without eliminating potentially resistant individuals. Selective culling must be conservative during the wet period and with females due to the lower SP. Conversely, visual diagnosis of scabietic juveniles and during the dry period has to be improved, due to the lower SE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-019-3665-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6694496PMC
August 2019

Comparing the accuracy of PCR-capillary electrophoresis and cuticle microhistological analysis for assessing diet composition in ungulates: A case study with Pyrenean chamois.

PLoS One 2019 22;14(5):e0216345. Epub 2019 May 22.

Wildlife Ecology & Health Group (WE&H) and Servei d'Ecopatologia de Fauna Salvatge (SEFaS), Departament de Medicina i de Cirurgia Animals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona UAB, Bellaterra, Spain.

The study of diet composition is required to understand the interactions between animal and plant ecosystems. Different non-invasive techniques applied on faecal samples have commonly been used for such purposes, with cuticle microhistological analysis (CMA) and emerging DNA-based methods being the most relevant. In this work, we refined and optimized a qualitative DNA-based approach combining PCR amplification of long trnL(UAA) and ITS2 fragments and capillary electrophoresis (PCR-CE), instead of short trnL(UAA) fragments and massive sequencing technologies commonly reported. To do so, we developed a controlled diet assay using a stabled Pyrenean chamois specimen (Rupicapra pyrenaica pyrenaica), which included representative herbaceous and shrubby plant species. We also assessed the impact of sample freshness on the diet determination of this mountain caprinae by exposing faecal samples to the outdoor environment for three weeks. Faecal samples from both experiments were analysed by qualitative PCR-CE and semi-quantitative CMA in order to compare the pros and cons of both approaches. Our results show that all of the offered plant species were detected by both methodologies although CMA over-detected shrubs compared to herbaceous species. At the same time, sample degradation due to sustained climate exposure is a limiting factor for molecular analysis, but not for CMA. Taken all together, our results suggest that the qualitative information obtained by CMA and PCR-CE can be interchangeable when faecal samples are fresh (less than one week after deposition) but, afterwards, molecular analysis underestimates diet composition probably due to DNA degradation. CMA, however, can accurately be used at least three weeks after defecation. Moreover, by combining the results of simultaneous PCR amplification of two complementary genes, this optimized PCR-CE methodology provides a reliable, feasible and more affordable alternative for multiple and routine analyses of complex samples. Neither CMA nor PCR-CE seems to solve comprehensively the quatification of herbivore diets and thus further research needs to be done.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0216345PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6530829PMC
January 2020

CT characterisation of feline adrenal glands.

J Feline Med Surg 2020 04 3;22(4):285-291. Epub 2019 Apr 3.

Diagnostic Imaging Service of the Fundació Hospital Clínic Veterinari, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallés, Spain.

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to describe the CT characteristics of the adrenal glands in healthy cats, to provide normal reference biometry for adrenal gland size and attenuation values, and to investigate the association with age, sex, laterality and body weight.

Methods: Retrospective evaluation of 30 CT studies of healthy adult cats recruited from September 2013 to July 2015 was performed. Healthy cats >1 year of age were included based on the absence of clinical signs, unremarkable physical examination, normal results of the complete blood count, biochemical profile, feline immunodeficiency virus, feline leukaemia virus and species infection tests. The relationship between gland biometry (size and attenuation values) and the age, sex, laterality and body weight of cats were tested by two-way ANOVA. The intraclass correlation coefficient was assessed and mean, SD, range provided.

Results: Twenty-seven cats were included. Bilobed, arrowhead and oval adrenal gland shape patterns were recognised, the first being most common. No statistically significant differences were observed between the biometric parameters (length, height and attenuation values) and age, sex, Regarding the width of the adrenal glands, there was a statistically significant effect of sex and laterality. he length (11.6 ± 2.1 mm) and height (6.1 ± 1.3 mm) were the most consistent biometrical parameters to describe adrenal glands.

Conclusions And Relevance: Adrenal gland shape, size and attenuation CT data of healthy feline patients are provided in this study, as well as normal reference intervals for morphometric characterisation based on adrenal length and height.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1098612X19840090DOI Listing
April 2020

Effects of boom and bust grazing management on vegetation and health of beef cattle used for wildfire prevention in a Mediterranean forest.

Sci Total Environ 2019 May 4;665:18-22. Epub 2019 Feb 4.

Departamento de Biología Animal, Biología Vegetal y Ecología, Botánica, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB), Bellaterra, 08193 Barcelona, Spain; CREAF, Cerdanyola del Vallès, 08193 Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:

Humans and wildfires have historically driven landscape structure in the Mediterranean basin. The Iberian Peninsula is not an exception to that rule, and therefore, farmers, researchers, and governments seek alternative tools to minimize the loss of biodiversity and wildfire risks. Extensive livestock including beef cattle is currently promoted as a suitable management tool by European agro-environmental policies yet pieces of evidence exist regarding the reciprocal effects between cows and Mediterranean woody vegetation. In this work, we performed a field manipulation to evaluate whether free-ranging beef cattle without supplementary feeding, at high density (2 livestock units (LU)/ha) for a short period of time i.e. "boom and bust grazing" management, are able to adapt their grazing preferences to the Mediterranean woody vegetation without health impairment, and prevent from bush encroachment and wildfires. For our purposes, a native herd of 14 adult cows was kept captive without supplementary feeding in a 14 ha enclosure covered by Mediterranean vegetation for two months (April-June 2016). Plant and cattle fecal and blood samples were collected to assess diet composition (plant cuticle microhistological analysis), fecal nitrogen and protein contents of consumed plants, and the nutritional status (non-esterified fatty acids) of cattle. Our results showed that cattle adapted their feeding habits toward a more woody diet including potentially flammable taxa but with some detrimental effects on health status. Hence, cattle cannot control woody vegetation for long periods of time without supplementary feeding. Further research should be oriented to explore other alternative approaches to minimize the health impairment of cattle used for control flammable vegetation in Mediterranean regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.037DOI Listing
May 2019

Different effects of alpine woody plant expansion on domestic and wild ungulates.

Glob Chang Biol 2019 05 28;25(5):1808-1819. Epub 2019 Feb 28.

Wildlife Ecology & Health Group (WE&H) and Servei d'Ecopatologia de Fauna Salvatge (SEFaS), Departament de Medicina i Cirurgia Animals, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Changes in land-use and climate affect the distribution and diversity of plant and animal species at different spatiotemporal scales. The extent to which species-specific phenotypic plasticity and biotic interactions mediate organismal adaptation to changing environments, however, remains poorly understood. Woody plant expansion is threatening the extent of alpine grasslands worldwide, and evaluating and predicting its effects on herbivores is of crucial importance. Here, we explore the impact of shrubification on the feeding efficiency of Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra p. pyrenaica), as well as on the three most abundant coexisting domestic ungulate species: cattle, sheep and horses. We use observational diet composition from May to October and model different scenarios of vegetation availability where shrubland and woodland proliferate at the expense of grassland. We then predicted if the four ungulate species could efficiently utilize their food landscapes with their current dietary specificities measuring their niche breath in each scenario. We observed that the wild counterpart, due to a higher trophic plasticity, is less disturbed by shrubification compared to livestock, which rely primarily on herbaceous plants and will be affected 3.6 times more. Our results suggest that mixed feeders, such as chamois, could benefit from fallow landscapes, and that mountain farmers are at a growing economic risk worldwide due to changing land-use practices and climate conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14587DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6522367PMC
May 2019

Seasonal diet composition of Pyrenean chamois is mainly shaped by primary production waves.

PLoS One 2019 23;14(1):e0210819. Epub 2019 Jan 23.

Wildlife Ecology and Health Group (WE&H), and Servei d'Ecopatologia de Fauna Salvatge (SEFaS), Departament de Medicina i Cirurgia Animals, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain.

In alpine habitats, the seasonally marked climatic conditions generate seasonal and spatial differences in forage availability for herbivores. Vegetation availability and quality during the growing season are known to drive life history traits of mountain ungulates. However, little effort has been made to understand the association between plant phenology and changes in the foraging strategies of these mountain dwellers. Furthermore, this link can be affected by the seasonal presence of livestock in the same meadows. The objective of this work was to study the seasonal changes in diet composition of Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra p. pyrenaica) and its relationship to primary production trends in a Mediterranean alpine environment. Moreover, diet composition in two populations with contrasting livestock pressure was compared in order to study the effect of sheep flocks on the feeding behaviour of chamois. From 2009 to 2012, monthly diet composition was estimated by cuticle microhistological analysis of chamois faeces collected in the eastern Pyrenees. The primary production cycle was assessed by remote sensing, using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. Additionally, the diet of sheep sharing seasonally the subalpine and alpine meadows with chamois was analysed. Diet selection of chamois and sheep and their overlap was also assessed. Our results show an intra-annual variation in the diet composition of Pyrenean chamois and demonstrate a strong relationship between plant consumption dynamics and phenology in alpine areas. In addition, Calluna vulgaris, Cytisus spp. and Festuca spp., as well as forbs in the summer, are found to be key forage species for Pyrenean chamois. Furthermore, this study couldn't detect differences between both chamois populations despite the presence of sheep flocks in only one area. However, the detection of a shift in the diet of chamois in both areas after the arrival of high densities of multi-specific livestock suggest a general livestock effect. In conclusion, Pyrenean chamois are well adapted to the variations in the seasonal availability of plants in alpine habitats but could be disturbed by the seasonal presence of livestock. Due to the key plants in their diet, we suggest that population management programmes should focus on the preservation of mixed grasslands composed of patches of shrubs and herbs. The effects of climate change and shrub expansion should be studied as they may potentially affect chamois population dynamics through changes in habitat composition and temporal shifts in forage availability.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0210819PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6343923PMC
October 2019

Stochastic assessment of management strategies for a Mediterranean peri-urban wild boar population.

PLoS One 2018 29;13(8):e0202289. Epub 2018 Aug 29.

Wildlife Ecology & Health Group and Servei d' Ecopatologia de Fauna Salvatge (SEFaS), Departament de Medicina i CirurgiaAnimals, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain.

Wild boar (Sus scrofa) population spread into urban and periurban areas has exacerbated conflicts with humans. There is a need for planned wild boar management strategies, and Population viability analysis (PVA) combined with perturbation analyses allow the assessment of the management effort of control methods. Our study aims to develop stochastic predictive models of the increasing wild boar population of the 80 km2 peri-urban Mediterranean area of Collserola Natural Park (CNP), located near Barcelona, Spain, as well as assessing specific management measures (including reduced food availability, selective harvest, and reduction in fertility). Population parameters were estimated from previously published census and hunting data provided by the CNP and the local hunting administration. The results revealed that under the current conditions the CNP wild boar population will continue to increase. The most efficient strategy to reduce wild boar abundance was a combination of reducing supplementary anthropogenic food resources and selective removal of juvenile (<1 year) and yearling (1-2 years) wild boar. These strategies will probably be also the most efficient ones in other oversupplemented increasing wild boar populations in similar situations, although specific studies will be needed to fine-tune the best management option for each context. PVA allows the prediction of future population trends and the assessment of the efficacy and efficiency of potential management strategies before implementing management measures.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0202289PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6114779PMC
February 2019

Antibiotic resistance and molecular characterization of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli and non-typhoidal Salmonella strains isolated from infections in Southwest China.

Infect Dis Poverty 2018 May 7;7(1):53. Epub 2018 May 7.

National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shanghai, 200025, People's Republic of China.

Background: Bacterial diarrhea is one of the most common causes for medical consultations, mortality and morbidity in the world. Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) and non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) are major intestinal pathogens in developing countries, and the indiscriminate use of antibiotics has greatly contributed to resistant strains. Hence, the aim of the present study is to identify the antimicrobial resistance patterns and the molecular characteristics of DEC and NTS in southwest, China.

Methods: 1121 diarrheal patients and 319 non-diarrheal subjects across all age groups were recruited from four sentinel hospitals from June 2014 to July 2015 in Kunming City, Yunnan Province. Each stool specimen was collected to detect DEC and NTS with standard microbiological and molecular methods. Antimicrobial resistance testing was performed with the Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method, and the standards for antimicrobial susceptibility testing complied with the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). Molecular characterization of strains was carried out using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). A structured questionnaire was used to record basic epidemiological data (e.g. sex, age, residence, season, etc.). Data were analyzed using Chi-square or Fisher's exact test.

Results: DEC was detected in 127 (11.33%) diarrhea cases and 9 (2.82%) non-diarrheal cases (χ = 20.69, P < 0.001, OR = 4.36, 95% CI: 2.19-8.65), and the prevalence of NTS isolated from diarrhea cases was higher than that of non-diarrheal cases across all age groups (n = 42, 3.75%, n = 1, 0.31%, χ = 10.10, P = 0.002, OR = 12.38, 95% CI: 1.70-90.29). The rates of resistance to ten antibiotics of DEC and NTS showed significant differences (χ  = 386.77, P < 0.001; χ = 191.16, P < 0.001). The rates of resistance to Amoxicillin and Clavulafiate (AMC), Cephalothin (CEP), Gentamicin (GEN) and Sulfamethoxazole-Trimethoprim (SXT) of DEC isolated from diarrhea cases were higher than those of NTS isolated from diarrhea patients (37.01% vs 14.29%, χ = 7.57, P = 0.006; 29.92% vs 11.90%, χ = 5.40, P = 0.02; 37.01% vs 11.90%, χ = 5.80, P = 0.016; 62.20% vs 26.19%, χ = 16.44, P < 0.001; respectively). Ciprofloxacin (CIP) was the most sensitive antibiotic for DEC and NTS strains isolated from diarrhea cases. Resistance rates of DEC isolates from cases and controls to more than three kinds antimicrobials (multidrug resistance, MDR) showed no significant differences (81.10% vs 88.89%, P = 0.33). Pulsotype patterns of DEC strains were highly diverse; however, the pulsotype pattern of NTS strains was closely related to the serotype. The pattern of S. enteritidis was highly similar, but the S. enterica Typhimurium strain was discrete.

Conclusions: Antibiotic resistance of Enterobacteriaceae is of great concern. The societal effects of antibiotic use justify strict monitoring to combat increases in antimicrobial resistance. Molecular epidemiology and systematic epidemiological investigation can provide accurate evidence for tracking the infection source.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40249-018-0427-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5964730PMC
May 2018

Vaccination Against Porcine Circovirus-2 Reduces Severity of Tuberculosis in Wild Boar.

Ecohealth 2018 06 9;15(2):388-395. Epub 2018 Mar 9.

Departamento de Sanidad Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain.

Tuberculosis (TB) in wild boar (Sus scrofa) may be affected by coinfections with other pathogens, such as porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2). Therefore, sanitary measures focused on controlling PCV2 could be useful in reducing the impact of TB in this wild suid. The aim of this study was to explore whether vaccination against PCV2 targeting young animals affects TB prevalence and TB severity in wild boar. The study was conducted on a game estate in mid-western Spain. Seventy animals of ages ranging from 4 to 8 months were captured, individually identified, vaccinated against PCV2 and released, forming a vaccinated group. Not-captured animals cohabiting with the vaccinated wild boar constituted the control group. Animals from both groups were hunted between 2013 and 2016 and a TB diagnosis based on pathological assessment and microbiological culture was made in all of them. The effect of PCV2 vaccination on TB prevalence and severity was explored using generalized lineal models. Whereas TB prevalence was similar in vaccinated and control groups (54.55 vs. 57.78%), vaccinated animals showed less probabilities to develop generalized TB lesions. Furthermore, mean TB severity score was significantly lower in vaccinated animals (1.55 vs. 2.42) suggesting a positive effect of PCV2 vaccination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10393-018-1321-xDOI Listing
June 2018

On the possible role of ticks in the eco-epidemiology of Coxiella burnetii in a Mediterranean ecosystem.

Ticks Tick Borne Dis 2018 03 21;9(3):687-694. Epub 2018 Feb 21.

Wildlife Ecology & Health group (WEH) and Servei d'Ecopatologia de Fauna Salvatge (SEFaS), Departament de Medicina i Cirurgia Animals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain; Departament de Ciència Animal, Escola Tècnica Superior d'Enginyeria Agraria (ETSEA), Universitat de Lleida (UdL), Lleida, Spain. Electronic address:

Ruminant livestock is the main reservoir of Coxiella burnetii (Cb), but little is known about the role of wildlife and ticks in its epidemiology. The Iberian ibex (Capra pyrenaica, Schinz 1838) population of "Ports de Tortosa i Beseit" (NE Spain) suffers intense tick infestations and low reproduction rates. This study aims to (1) assess the relationship between infection in ibexes (detection of serum antibodies and/or of Cb DNA in tissues) and Cb DNA presence in ticks hosted by the same ibexes; and (2) identify Cb associated risk factors. Between 2011 and 2015, serum (n = 130), spleen (n = 72), lymph node (n = 89) and tick (n = 669) samples from 134 hunter-harvested ibexes were collected. Antibody detection was performed by ELISA and Cb DNA presence was assessed by PCR. Potential risk factors were assessed with regression tree models. Although 30% of the ibexes (39/130; 95%CI, [10%-29.8%]) had antibodies, Cb DNA was detected in only 9.8% of the ibexes (11/112; 95%CI [7.6%-27.25%]). The prevalence of Cb-carrier ticks averaged 10% and exceeded 20% for the genus Haemaphysalis. However, lacking correlation between infection in ibexes and their ticks does not support tick-to-ibex transmission or vice versa. Tree modelling points to host, population and environmental factors as drivers of Cb infection in ticks and suggests connections with the domestic cycle. The percentage of Cb-carrier ticks detected is noteworthy. Along with heavy tick infestations, it suggests vector potential for these tick species, especially for the genera Rhipicephalus and Haemaphysalis. Since vector competence has not been assessed in these tick species, a classic vector role cannot be proposed nor discarded, but promoter factors of vector capacity occur. In addition, the risk of tick-borne infection through tick excreta should not be neglected. While the airborne route is the preeminent route for Cb infection, ticks' contribution to Cb epidemiology deserves further attention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2018.02.014DOI Listing
March 2018

Long-term dynamics of Mycoplasma conjunctivae at the wildlife-livestock interface in the Pyrenees.

PLoS One 2017 9;12(10):e0186069. Epub 2017 Oct 9.

Servei d'Ecopatologia de Fauna Salvatge (SEFaS), Departament de Medicina i Cirurgia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.

Functional roles of domestic and wild host populations in infectious keratoconjunctivitis (IKC) epidemiology have been extensively discussed claiming a domestic reservoir for the more susceptible wild hosts, however, based on limited data. With the aim to better assess IKC epidemiology in complex host-pathogen alpine systems, the long-term infectious dynamics and molecular epidemiology of Mycoplasma conjunctivae was investigated in all host populations from six study areas in the Pyrenees and one in the Cantabrian Mountains (Northern Spain). Detection of M. conjunctivae was performed by qPCR on 3600 eye swabs collected during seven years from hunted wild ungulates and sympatric domestic sheep (n = 1800 animals), and cluster analyses of the strains were performed including previous reported local strains. Mycoplasma conjunctivae was consistently detected in three Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra p. pyrenaica) populations, as well as in sheep flocks (17.0% of sheep) and occasionally in mouflon (Ovis aries musimon) from the Pyrenees (22.2% in one year/area); statistically associated with ocular clinical signs only in chamois. Chamois populations showed different infection dynamics with low but steady prevalence (4.9%) and significant yearly fluctuations (0.0%- 40.0%). Persistence of specific M. conjunctivae strain clusters in wild host populations is demonstrated for six and nine years. Cross-species transmission between chamois and sheep and chamois and mouflon were also sporadically evidenced. Overall, independent M. conjunctivae sylvatic and domestic cycles occurred at the wildlife-livestock interface in the alpine ecosystems from the Pyrenees with sheep and chamois as the key host species for each cycle, and mouflon as a spill-over host. Host population characteristics and M. conjunctivae strains resulted in different epidemiological scenarios in chamois, ranging from the fading out of the mycoplasma to the epidemic and endemic long-term persistence. These findings highlight the capacity of M. conjunctivae to establish diverse interactions and persist in host populations, also with different transmission conditions.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0186069PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5633175PMC
October 2017

Urban wild boars prefer fragmented areas with food resources near natural corridors.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Feb 2;615:282-288. Epub 2017 Oct 2.

Servei d'Ecopatologia de Fauna Salvatge (SEFaS), Departament de Medicina i Cirurgia Animals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:

Wild boar populations are expanding throughout the world and intruding into periurban and urban areas. In the last years, wild boar has colonized several European cities, including our study area, the city of Barcelona. It is required to identify the main factors driving wild boar into urban areas prior to establish management measures. We built Boosted Regression Trees (BRT) using 3148 wild boar presences registered in the urban area of Barcelona from 2010 to 2014 to identify the variables correlated with these presences. The variables analysed included proxies for distance to source population, urban food resources, climate and urban habitat structure. Wild boars enter the urban area from close natural habitat using corridors such as streams, preferably in fragmented urban environment, looking for food such as urban green areas or dry pet food from cat colonies. Wild boar presence is higher in spring possibly due to the births of piglets and the dispersion of yearlings during that season, and also when natural resources in the Mediterranean habitat fail to satisfy the nutritional requirements of the wild boar population during the summer season. Management measures derived from this study are currently being applied in the city of Barcelona, including vegetation clearings in the wild boar entrance areas and an awareness campaign aimed at reducing the anthropogenic food availability for wild boars. The methodology used can be applied to other cities with wild boar or even other wildlife species issues. The comparison between the factors attracting wild boars into different urban areas would be helpful to understand the global phenomenon.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.09.277DOI Listing
February 2018

Determinants for swine mycoplasmal pneumonia reproduction under experimental conditions: A systematic review and recursive partitioning analysis.

PLoS One 2017 25;12(7):e0181194. Epub 2017 Jul 25.

IRTA, Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA, IRTA-UAB), Campus de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.

One of the main Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (M. hyopneumoniae) swine experimental model objectives is to reproduce mycoplasmal pneumonia (MP). Unfortunately, experimental validated protocols to maximize the chance to successfully achieve lung lesions induced by M. hyopneumoniae are not available at the moment. Thus, the objective of this work was to identify those factors that might have a major influence on the effective development of MP, measured as macroscopic lung lesions, under experimental conditions. Data from 85 studies describing M. hyopneumoniae inoculation experiments were compiled by means of a systematic review and analyzed thereafter. Several variables were considered in the analyses such as the number of pigs in the experiment, serological status against M. hyopneumoniae, source of the animals, age at inoculation, type of inoculum, strain of M. hyopneumoniae, route, dose and times of inoculation, study duration and co-infection with other swine pathogens. Descriptive statistics were used to depict M. hyopneumoniae experimental model main characteristics whereas a recursive partitioning approach, using regression trees, assessed the importance of the abovementioned experimental variables as MP triggering factors. A strong link between the time period between challenge and necropsies and lung lesion severity was observed. Results indicated that the most important factors to explain the observed lung lesion score variability were: (1) study duration, (2) M. hyopneumoniae strain, (3) age at inoculation, (4) co-infection with other swine pathogens and (5) animal source. All other studied variables were not relevant to explain the variability on M. hyopneumoniae lung lesions. The results provided in the present work may serve as a basis for debate in the search for a universally accepted M. hyopneumoniae challenge model.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0181194PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5526585PMC
October 2017

Postepizootic Persistence of Asymptomatic Mycoplasma conjunctivae Infection in Iberian Ibex.

Appl Environ Microbiol 2017 08 17;83(15). Epub 2017 Jul 17.

Servei d'Ecopatologia de Fauna Salvatge, Departament de Medicina i Cirurgia Animals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

The susceptibility of the Iberian ibex () to ocular infection and the changes in their interaction over time were studied in terms of clinical outcome, molecular detection, and IgG immune response in a captive population that underwent a severe infectious keratoconjunctivitis (IKC) outbreak. was detected in the Iberian ibex, coinciding with the IKC outbreak. Its prevalence had a decreasing trend in 2013 that was consistent with the clinical resolution (August, 35.4%; September, 8.7%; November, 4.3%). Infections without clinical outcome were, however, still detected in the last handling in November. Sequencing and cluster analyses of the strains found 1 year later in the ibex population confirmed the persistence of the same strain lineage that caused the IKC outbreak but with a high prevalence (75.3%) of mostly asymptomatic infections and with lower DNA load of in the eyes (mean quantitative PCR [qPCR] cycle threshold [ ], 36.1 versus 20.3 in severe IKC). Significant age-related differences of prevalence were observed only under IKC epizootic conditions. No substantial effect of systemic IgG on DNA in the eye was evidenced with a linear mixed-models selection, which indicated that systemic IgG does not necessarily drive the resolution of infection and does not explain the epidemiological changes observed. The results show how both epidemiological scenarios, i.e., severe IKC outbreak and mostly asymptomatic infections, can consecutively occur by entailing mycoplasma persistence. infections are reported in a wide range of epidemiological scenarios that involve severe disease to asymptomatic infections. This study allows a better understanding of the transition between two different epidemiological scenarios described in wild host populations and highlights the ability of to adapt, persist, and establish diverse interactions with its hosts. The proportion of asymptomatic and clinical infections in a host population may not be regarded only in response to intrinsic host species traits (i.e., susceptibility) but also to a specific host-pathogen interaction, which in turn influences the infection dynamics. Both epidemic infectious keratoconjunctivitis and a high prevalence of asymptomatic infections may occur in the same host population, depending on the circulation of , its maintenance, and the progression of the host-pathogen interactions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00690-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5514678PMC
August 2017

Predicting herbivore faecal nitrogen using a multispecies near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy calibration.

PLoS One 2017 28;12(4):e0176635. Epub 2017 Apr 28.

Ruminant Research Group, Departament de Ciència Animal i dels Aliments, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain.

Optimal management of free-ranging herbivores requires the accurate assessment of an animal's nutritional status. For this purpose 'near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy' (NIRS) is very useful, especially when nutritional assessment is done through faecal indicators such as faecal nitrogen (FN). In order to perform an NIRS calibration, the default protocol recommends starting by generating an initial equation based on at least 50-75 samples from the given species. Although this protocol optimises prediction accuracy, it limits the use of NIRS with rare or endangered species where sample sizes are often small. To overcome this limitation we tested a single NIRS equation (i.e., multispecies calibration) to predict FN in herbivores. Firstly, we used five herbivore species with highly contrasting digestive physiologies to build monospecies and multispecies calibrations, namely horse, sheep, Pyrenean chamois, red deer and European rabbit. Secondly, the equation accuracy was evaluated by two procedures using: (1) an external validation with samples from the same species, which were not used in the calibration process; and (2) samples from different ungulate species, specifically Alpine ibex, domestic goat, European mouflon, roe deer and cattle. The multispecies equation was highly accurate in terms of the coefficient of determination for calibration R2 = 0.98, standard error of validation SECV = 0.10, standard error of external validation SEP = 0.12, ratio of performance to deviation RPD = 5.3, and range error of prediction RER = 28.4. The accuracy of the multispecies equation to predict other herbivore species was also satisfactory (R2 > 0.86, SEP < 0.27, RPD > 2.6, and RER > 8.1). Lastly, the agreement between multi- and monospecies calibrations was also confirmed by the Bland-Altman method. In conclusion, our single multispecies equation can be used as a reliable, cost-effective, easy and powerful analytical method to assess FN in a wide range of herbivore species.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0176635PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409079PMC
September 2017

The physiological cost of male-biased parasitism in a nearly monomorphic mammal.

Parasit Vectors 2017 Apr 21;10(1):200. Epub 2017 Apr 21.

Servei d'Ecopatologia de Fauna Salvatge (SEFaS), Wildlife Health Service, Departament de Medicina i Cirurgia Animal, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, E-08193, Bellaterra, Spain.

Background: Even though male-biased parasitism is common in mammals, little effort has been made to evaluate whether higher parasitic burden in males results in an extra biological cost, and thus a decrease in fitness. Body condition impairment and the augmentation of oxidative stress can be used as indicators of the cost of parasite infections. Here, we examined relationships between gastrointestinal and respiratory helminths, body condition and oxidative stress markers (glutathione peroxidase, paraoxonase-1) in 28 Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra p. pyrenaica) sampled in autumn.

Results: Only male chamois showed a reduction in body condition and higher oxidative stress due to parasite infection, likely because of the extremely high parasite burdens observed in males.

Conclusions: This study made evident a disparity in the physiological cost of multiple parasitism between sexes in a wild mammal, mainly due to parasitic richness. Because of the similar life expectancy in male and female chamois, we suggest that males may have developed natural mechanisms to compensate for higher parasite loads during the rut.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-017-2060-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5399856PMC
April 2017