Publications by authors named "Francisco Ruiz Fons"

68 Publications

FREQUENT LEPTOSPIRA SPP. DETECTION BUT ABSENCE OF TULA ORTHOHANTAVIRUS IN MICROTUS SPP. VOLES, NORTHWESTERN SPAIN.

J Wildl Dis 2021 Jul 28. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Südufer 10, 17493 Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany.

The common vole (Microtus arvalis) is a major agricultural pest in Europe and is a reservoir for several zoonotic agents, such as Leptospira spp. and Tula orthohantavirus (TULV). However, little is known about the occurrence of those pathogens in voles from Spain, where the species has largely expanded its distribution range in the past decades, causing agricultural pests and zoonotic diseases. For a molecular survey, 580 common voles and six Lusitanian pine voles (Microtus lusitanicus) were collected in 26 localities from four provinces of northwestern Spain. We assessed the presence of Leptospira spp. DNA in kidney tissue by PCR targeting the lipL32 gene, detecting a prevalence of 7.9% (95% confidence interval, 5.9-10.4) for common voles and of 33.3% (95% confidence interval, 4.3-77.7) for Lusitanian pine voles. We identified Leptospira kirschneri in 24 animals and Leptospira borgpetersenii in two animals, using secY gene-specific PCR. We analyzed environmental and demographic factors (such as age class, weight, and sex) and population dynamics data for their potential effect on the Leptospira spp. prevalence in those voles. The Leptospira spp. DNA detection rate in common voles increased significantly with maximum air temperature, vole weight, and amount of accumulated rainfall during the 90 d before capture and within the peak phase of the population cycle. We assessed the presence of TULV in lung tissue of 389 voles by reverse-transcription PCR, with no positive results. The absence of TULV might be explained by the evolutionary isolation of the common vole in Spain. The detection of two Leptospira genomospecies underlines the necessity for further typing efforts to understand the epidemiology of leptospiral infection in the common vole and the potential risk for human health in Spain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7589/JWD-D-20-00109DOI Listing
July 2021

AUJESZKY'S DISEASE IN HUNTED WILD BOAR (SUS SCROFA) IN THE IBERIAN PENINSULA.

J Wildl Dis 2021 Jul;57(3):543-552

Health & Biotechnology (SaBio) Group, Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos (IREC) (CSIC-UCLM), Ronda de Toledo 12, 13071 Ciudad Real, Spain.

Aujeszky's disease (AD, pseudorabies) eradication programs in domestic pigs are implemented in several European countries where AD virus (ADV) circulates in local wild boar (Sus scrofa), making studies on ADV infection dynamics in wild boar increasingly relevant. The objective of our study was to characterize ADV dynamics in wild boar at a site in central Portugal and compare this site to three enzootic sites in central Spain. A total of 235 wild boar were sampled during the hunting season 2014-15. We collected serum, tissues (oropharyngeal tonsils and trigeminal and sacral ganglia), and swabs (oral, nasal, and genital) and analyzed these samples to detect ADV antibodies (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and DNA (PCR). An overall seroprevalence of 42.6% was found (range 12.7-57.7%), being highest in adults (54.1%; 72/133). Overall, 2.8% (3/108) oral, 6.4% (7/109) nasal, and 12.8% (12/94) genital swabs were PCR positive. We found 20.4% (20/98) of the wild boar had at least one positive swab and were considered shedders. We found ADV in tissues of five animals; of 111 tonsils, three (2.7%) were PCR positive. Trigeminal (2/48; 4%) and sacral (2/53; 4%) ganglia collected in central Portugal, pertaining to three animals, were positive for ADV DNA. Logistic regression models showed that seroprevalence was influenced by site and age, whereas ADV shedding was influenced by site. Our study describes patterns of ADV infection in wild boar in Portugal and shows that wild boar also pose a risk, albeit lower than that in central Spain, for the eradication of AD from extensively managed domestic pigs in Portugal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7589/JWD-D-20-00197DOI Listing
July 2021

Investigating the Role of Micromammals in the Ecology of in Spain.

Animals (Basel) 2021 Mar 2;11(3). Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), Ronda de Toledo 12, 13071 Ciudad Real, Spain.

, the causal agent of human Q fever and animal Coxiellosis, is a zoonotic infectious bacterium with a complex ecology that results from its ability to replicate in multiple (in)vertebrate host species. Spain notifies the highest number of Q fever cases to the ECDC annually and wildlife plays a relevant role in ecology in the country. However, the whole picture of hosts is incomplete, so this study seeks to better understand the role of micromammals in ecology in the country. Spleen samples from 816 micromammals of 10 species and 130 vaginal swabs from were analysed by qPCR to detect infection and shedding, respectively. The 9.7% of the spleen samples were qPCR positive. The highest infection prevalence (10.8%) was found in , in which DNA was also detected in 1 of the 130 vaginal swabs (0.8%) analysed. Positive samples were also found in (8.7%), (7.7%) and (6.4%). Positive samples were genotyped by coupling PCR with reverse line blotting and a genotype II+ strain was identified for the first time in one of the positive samples from , whereas only partial results could be obtained for the rest of the samples. Acute Q fever was diagnosed in one of the researchers that participated in the study, and it was presumably linked to handling. The results of the study are consistent with previous findings suggesting that micromammals can be infected by . Our findings additionally suggest that micromammals may be potential sources to trace back the origin of human Q fever and animal Coxiellosis cases in Europe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani11030654DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8000606PMC
March 2021

The impact of an African swine fever outbreak on endemic tuberculosis in wild boar populations: A model analysis.

Transbound Emerg Dis 2021 Sep 30;68(5):2750-2760. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

SaBio, Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC (UCLM & CSIC), Ciudad Real, Spain.

A mathematical model is developed and analysed to examine the impacts of African swine fever (ASF) introduction into a wild boar population that supports endemic animal tuberculosis (TB). TB is a widespread infectious disease caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria belonging to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) that can persist in reservoir wildlife hosts. Wild boar (sus scrofa) are a key reservoir for MTC, and an increasing trend in wild boar density is expected to lead to an increase in TB prevalence with spill-over to livestock. MTC infection is presently controlled through a variety of strategies, including culling. African swine fever (ASF) is a virulent, viral infection which affects wild boar and is spreading across Eurasia and Oceania. ASF infection leads to near 100% mortality at the individual level, can cause a dramatic decrease in population density and may therefore lead to TB control. We extend an established model that captures the key demographic and infection processes for TB in wild boar to consider the impact of ASF introduction on wild boar populations that support different levels of endemic TB. Our model results indicate that an ASF infection will reduce wild boar population density and lead to a decrease in the prevalence of TB. If ASF persists in the local host population the model predicts the long-term decline of TB prevalence in wild boar. If ASF is eradicated, or fades-out in the local host population, the model predicts a slower recovery of TB prevalence in comparison to wild boar density after an ASF epidemic. This may open a window of opportunity to apply TB management to maintain low TB prevalence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.14052DOI Listing
September 2021

Distribution of Pestivirus exposure in wild ruminants in Spain.

Transbound Emerg Dis 2021 May 23;68(3):1577-1585. Epub 2020 Sep 23.

Departamento de Anatomía y Anatomía Patológica Comparadas y Toxicología, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Córdoba (UCO), Córdoba, España.

A large-scale study was carried out to determine the prevalence of antibodies against Pestivirus species in wild ruminants and describe their spatial variation in mainland Spain. Serum samples of 1,874 wild ruminants from different regions of this country were collected between the years 2000 and 2017. A total of 6.6% (123/1,874) animals showed antibodies against Pestivirus by both blocking ELISA (bELISA) and virus neutralization tests (VNT). The prevalence of antibodies against pestiviruses was different both among species and regions. Seroprevalence by species was 30.0% (75/250) in Southern chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica), 7.0% (25/357) in fallow deer (Dama dama), 2.5% (10/401) in red deer (Cervus elaphus), 2.4% (8/330) in Iberian wild goat (Capra pyrenaica), 1.1% (4/369) in roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and 0.8% (1/130) in mouflon (Ovis aries musimon), not detecting seropositivity (0/37) in Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia). The results confirm that exposure to pestiviruses was detected throughout mainland Spain, with significantly higher seroprevalence in Northern regions associated with the presence of Southern chamois. This indicates an endemic circulation of pestiviruses in Southern chamois and a limited circulation of these viruses in the remaining wild ruminant species during the last two decades, thus suggesting that non-chamois species are not true Pestivirus reservoirs in Spain. Nonetheless, the high spatial spread of these viruses points out that new epidemic outbreaks in naïve wild ruminant populations or transmission to livestock may occur, evidencing the usefulness of monitoring pestiviruses in wild ruminants, especially at the wildlife-livestock interface.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.13827DOI Listing
May 2021

Detection of new Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus genotypes in ticks feeding on deer and wild boar, Spain.

Transbound Emerg Dis 2021 May 11;68(3):993-1000. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

SaBio, Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC-CSIC-UCLM-JCCM, Ciudad Real, Spain.

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is the causative agent of the severe tick-borne, often fatal, zoonotic Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), which is widely distributed worldwide. The CCHFV transmission to humans occurs through tick bite, crushing of engorged ticks or contact with infected host blood. Previously, CCHFV genotype Africa III was reported in Spain. Given the emergence of CCHF and the role of ticks in pathogen maintenance and transmission, we investigated the presence and genotype identity of the virus in tick species parasitizing abundant wild host species in south-western Spain. A total of 613 adult ticks were collected from hunter-harvested wild ungulates in twenty locations throughout south-western Spain. Ticks were identified, nucleic acids were extracted, RNA was analysed by a nested RT-PCR targeting CCHFV S segment, and the amplicons were sequenced. According to the 212-bp sequence amplified, the presence of CCHFV human genotype Europe V was detected in Hyalomma lusitanicum and Dermacentor marginatus ticks collected from red deer, fallow deer and Eurasian wild boar in different locations from south-western Spain. Genotype Africa IV was also detected in a H. lusitanicum tick collected from a red deer. The detection of CCHFV in different tick species collected from various wild hosts and localities provided strong evidence of widespread CCHFV presence in the region, suggesting that the circulation of the virus in Spain requires more attention. Additionally, the identification of the CCHFV genotype Europe V in ticks suggested that its introduction in Spain was probably from Eastern Europe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.13756DOI Listing
May 2021

A Duplex Quantitative Real-Time Reverse Transcription-PCR for Simultaneous Detection and Differentiation of Flaviviruses of the Japanese Encephalitis and Ntaya Serocomplexes in Birds.

Front Vet Sci 2020 21;7:203. Epub 2020 Apr 21.

Centro de Investigación en Sanidad Animal (CISA), Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA), Valdeolmos-Alalpardo, Spain.

High impact, mosquito-borne flaviviruses such as West Nile virus (WNV), Usutu virus (USUV), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), Tembusu virus (TMUV), and Bagaza/Israel turkey meningoencephalomyelitis virus (BAGV/ITV) are emerging in different areas of the world. These viruses belong to the Japanese encephalitis (JE) serocomplex (JEV, WNV, and USUV) and the Ntaya serocomplex (TMUV and BAGV/ITV). Notably, they share transmission route (mosquito bite) and reservoir host type (wild birds), and some of them co-circulate in the same areas, infecting overlapping mosquito and avian population. This may simplify epidemiological surveillance, since it allows the detection of different infections targeting the same population, but also represents a challenge, as the diagnostic tools applied need to detect the whole range of flaviviruses surveyed, and correctly differentiate between these closely related pathogens. To this aim, a duplex real-time RT-PCR (dRRT-PCR) method has been developed for the simultaneous and differential detection of JE and Ntaya flavivirus serocomplexes. The method has been standardized and evaluated by analyzing a panel of 49 flaviviral and non-flaviviral isolates, and clinical samples of different bird species obtained from experimental infections or from the field, proving its value for virus detection in apparently healthy or suspicious animals. This new dRRT-PCR technique is a reliable, specific and highly sensitive tool for rapid detection and differentiation of JE and Ntaya flavivirus groups in either domestic or wild animals. This novel method can be implemented in animal virology diagnostic laboratories as screening tool in routine surveillance and in the event of bird encephalitis emergence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.00203DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7186316PMC
April 2020

Modelling the transmission and persistence of African swine fever in wild boar in contrasting European scenarios.

Sci Rep 2020 04 3;10(1):5895. Epub 2020 Apr 3.

SaBio, Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC (UCLM & CSIC), 13005, Ciudad Real, Spain.

African swine fever (ASF) is a severe viral disease that is currently spreading among domestic pigs and wild boar (Sus scrofa) in large areas of Eurasia. Wild boar play a key role in the spread of ASF, yet despite their significance, little is known about the key mechanisms that drive infection transmission and disease persistence. A mathematical model of the wild boar ASF system is developed that captures the observed drop in population density, the peak in infected density and the persistence of the virus observed in ASF outbreaks. The model results provide insight into the key processes that drive the ASF dynamics and show that environmental transmission is a key mechanism determining the severity of an infectious outbreak and that direct frequency dependent transmission and transmission from individuals that survive initial ASF infection but eventually succumb to the disease are key for the long-term persistence of the virus. By considering scenarios representative of Estonia and Spain we show that faster degradation of carcasses in Spain, due to elevated temperature and abundant obligate scavengers, may reduce the severity of the infectious outbreak. Our results also suggest that the higher underlying host density and longer breeding season associated with supplementary feeding leads to a more pronounced epidemic outbreak and persistence of the disease in the long-term. The model is used to assess disease control measures and suggests that a combination of culling and infected carcass removal is the most effective method to eradicate the virus without also eradicating the host population, and that early implementation of these control measures will reduce infection levels whilst maintaining a higher host population density and in some situations prevent ASF from establishing in a population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-62736-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7125206PMC
April 2020

Dynamics of Aujeszky's disease virus infection in wild boar in enzootic scenarios.

Transbound Emerg Dis 2020 Jan 29;67(1):388-405. Epub 2019 Sep 29.

Health & Biotechnology (SaBio) Group, Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC (CSIC-UCLM), Ciudad Real, Spain.

Aujeszky's disease (AD) virus is enzootic in Iberian wild boar, thus posing a threat to the official eradication of AD on extensive domestic pig farms in Spain. Understanding the dynamics and drivers of ADV infection in wild boar will help prevent viral transmission at the wild boar-pig interface. This study analyses the dynamics of ADV infection in wild boar and tests relevant hypotheses in order to identify drivers of ADV infection dynamics. Wild boar sera (N = 971) and oropharyngeal tonsils (TN, N = 549) collected over 11 consecutive years in south-western Spain were tested for ADV antibodies and DNA, respectively. We tested the hypotheses that population immunity modulates the risk of ADV infection (H ) and that detecting ADV DNA in TN is a good proxy of the annual ADV infection pressure (H ). This was done by building logistic regression models that were subsequently employed to test the influence of a series of host population and host individual factors-including predictors of ADV immunity in the population-on the annual risk of new ADV infections and on the presence of ADV DNA in TN. The premise of H was that there would be a negative association between the proportion of ADV antibody-positive wild boar in a given year and the risk of ADV infection of naïve individuals. There was, however, a positive association, and H was, therefore, rejected. If detecting ADV in TN had been a good indicator of ADV infection pressure, a positive association with the proportion of ADV antibody-positive wild boar would have been found. However, this was not the case and H was also rejected. We confirmed that ADV infection is a dynamic phenomenon. The risk of infection with ADV can change considerably between consecutive years, and these changes are positively associated with the proportion of infected wild boar in the population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.13362DOI Listing
January 2020

Coxiella burnetii in wild mammals: A systematic review.

Transbound Emerg Dis 2019 Mar 14;66(2):662-671. Epub 2018 Dec 14.

Health & Biotechnology (SaBio) Group, Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), Ciudad Real, Spain.

Coxiella burnetii is a multi-host bacterium that causes Q fever in humans, a zoonosis that is emerging worldwide. The ecology of C. burnetii in wildlife is still poorly understood and the influence of host, environmental and pathogen factors is almost unknown. This study gathers current published information on different aspects of C. burnetii infection in wildlife, even in species with high reservoir potential and a high rate of interaction with livestock and humans, in order to partially fill the existing gap and highlight future needs. Exposure and/or infection by C. burnetii has, to date, been reported in 109 wild mammal species. The limited sample size of most of the existing studies could suggest an undervalued prevalence of C. burnetii infection. Knowledge on the clinical outcome of C. burnetii infection in wildlife is also very limited, but currently includes reproductive failure in waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus), roan antelope (Hippotragus niger), dama gazelle (Nanger dama) and water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) and placentitis in the Pacific harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardsi), Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) and red deer (Cervus elaphus). The currently available serological tests need to be optimised and validated for each wildlife species. Finally, there is a huge gap in the research on C. burnetii control in wildlife, despite of the increasing evidence that wildlife is a source of C. burnetii for both livestock and humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.13085DOI Listing
March 2019

Tick parasitism in the Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise in the Maamora forest, Morocco.

Ticks Tick Borne Dis 2019 02 13;10(2):286-289. Epub 2018 Nov 13.

Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Cinegéticos, IREC (CSIC-UCLM- JCCM) Ronda de Toledo, 12, 13071 Ciudad Real, Spain.

Macroparasites in general, and ectoparasites in particular, have the potential to regulate host population dynamics. In this context, this study addresses the tick parasitism traits of the Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) in the core area of its distribution range (northwestern Morocco, Maamora). It was discovered that 92.5% of the tortoises were parasitized by ticks in spring, with an infestation intensity and an abundance of 6.7 and 6.2 tick/tortoise, respectively. The observed parasitization rates were among the highest reported worldwide for T. graeca, which could relate to density-depended effects driving host-parasite interactions. The main tick species that parasitized the tortoises were Hyalomma aegyptium (95.6% of the ticks and in the 100% of the parasitized tortoises), Hy. marginatum, Hy. excavatum and Hy. scupense. Individual predictors for the tortoises, such as age, sex and the interaction between body condition and sex, were significantly related to tick abundance. Age-related behavioural differences might favour a higher host-tick effective contact in adults than in juveniles. The fact that males are more active in spring - the breeding season - might explain the observed male-bias in tick abundance and may also be responsible for the negative effect of male body condition on tick infestation rate in contrast to females. Given the potential role played by parasites as regards modulating population dynamics, our results suggest that ticks should be taken into account in the conservation and management programmes of this tortoise species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2018.11.002DOI Listing
February 2019

Stable levels of Coxiella burnetii prevalence in dairy sheep flocks but changes in genotype distribution after a 10-year period in northern Spain.

Acta Vet Scand 2018 Nov 20;60(1):75. Epub 2018 Nov 20.

NEIKER - Instituto Vasco de Investigación y Desarrollo Agrario, Animal Health Department, Bizkaia Science and Technology Park 812L, 48160, Derio, Biscay, Spain.

Bulk tank milk (BTM) samples were collected from 81 sheep flocks in the Basque Country, Spain, in 2015 and were analysed for antibodies against Coxiella burnetii by ELISA and for C. burnetii DNA by real-time PCR. Thirty-two percent of the flocks had BTM antibodies against C. burnetii. Presence of C. burnetii DNA in BTM was detected in 23% of the flocks, suggesting recent C. burnetii infections. Retrospective data of BTM samples obtained from 154 sheep flocks investigated in 2005 in the same geographic area were compiled to assess temporal changes in C. burnetii infection. The overall percentage of infected sheep flocks did not significantly change after the 10-year period. Among the 46 flocks sampled in both periods, 11 flocks that were negative in 2005 were positive in 2015, 18 maintained their initial status (positive or negative), and 17 positive flocks were negative in 2015. These findings indicate that C. burnetii infection is a dynamic process in dairy sheep in northern Spain. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping of positive samples identified three genotypes, SNP1 being the most prevalent in 2015 and SNP8 in 2005; SNP4 was only detected once in 2005. These results suggest possible changes in the pattern of genotype infection over time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13028-018-0429-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6245712PMC
November 2018

RECENT CHANGES IN INFECTIOUS DISEASES IN EUROPEAN WILDLIFE.

J Wildl Dis 2019 01 4;55(1):3-43. Epub 2018 Oct 4.

3   National Veterinary Institute (SVA), Ulls väg 2B, SE75189 Uppsala, Sweden.

Many infectious diseases originating from, or carried by, wildlife affect wildlife conservation and biodiversity, livestock health, or human health. We provide an update on changes in the epidemiology of 25 selected infectious, wildlife-related diseases in Europe (from 2010-16) that had an impact, or may have a future impact, on the health of wildlife, livestock, and humans. These pathogens were selected based on their: 1) identification in recent Europe-wide projects as important surveillance targets, 2) inclusion in European Union legislation as pathogens requiring obligatory surveillance, 3) presence in recent literature on wildlife-related diseases in Europe since 2010, 4) inclusion in key pathogen lists released by the Office International des Epizooties, 5) identification in conference presentations and informal discussions on a group email list by a European network of wildlife disease scientists from the European Wildlife Disease Association, or 6) identification as pathogens with changes in their epidemiology during 2010-16. The wildlife pathogens or diseases included in this review are: avian influenza virus, seal influenza virus, lagoviruses, rabies virus, bat lyssaviruses, filoviruses, canine distemper virus, morbilliviruses in aquatic mammals, bluetongue virus, West Nile virus, hantaviruses, Schmallenberg virus, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, African swine fever virus, amphibian ranavirus, hepatitis E virus, bovine tuberculosis ( Mycobacterium bovis), tularemia ( Francisella tularensis), brucellosis ( Brucella spp.), salmonellosis ( Salmonella spp.), Coxiella burnetii, chytridiomycosis, Echinococcus multilocularis, Leishmania infantum, and chronic wasting disease. Further work is needed to identify all of the key drivers of disease change and emergence, as they appear to be influencing the incidence and spread of these pathogens in Europe. We present a summary of these recent changes during 2010-16 to discuss possible commonalities and drivers of disease change and to identify directions for future work on wildlife-related diseases in Europe. Many of the pathogens are entering Europe from other continents while others are expanding their ranges inside and beyond Europe. Surveillance for these wildlife-related diseases at a continental scale is therefore important for planet-wide assessment, awareness of, and preparedness for the risks they may pose to wildlife, domestic animal, and human health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7589/2017-07-172DOI Listing
January 2019

A SEROLOGIC SURVEY OF PATHOGENS IN WILD BOAR ( SUS SCROFA) IN SWEDEN.

J Wildl Dis 2018 04 29;54(2):229-237. Epub 2018 Jan 29.

The wild boar ( Sus scrofa) population has increased markedly during the last three decades in Sweden and in other parts of Europe. This population growth may lead to increased contact between the wild boar and the domestic pig ( Sus scrofa scrofa), increasing the risk of transmission of pathogens. The objective of our study was to estimate the seroprevalence of selective pathogens, known to be shared between wild boars and domestic pigs in Europe, in three wild boar populations in Sweden. In total, 286 hunter-harvested female wild boars were included in this study. The sera were analyzed for antibodies against nine pathogens using different commercial or in-house enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Antibodies were detected against porcine parvovirus (78.0%), porcine circovirus type 2 (99.0%), swine influenza virus (3.8%), Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae (17.5%), Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (24.8%), and Toxoplasma gondii (28.6%). No antibodies were detected against porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome virus, Brucella suis, or Mycobacterium bovis. Our results highlight the potential importance of the wild boar as a reservoir for pathogens potentially transmissible to domestic pigs and which also may affect human health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7589/2017-05-120DOI Listing
April 2018

Estimating the Efficacy of a Commercial Phase I Inactivated Vaccine in Decreasing the Prevalence of Infection and Shedding in Red Deer ().

Front Vet Sci 2017 6;4:208. Epub 2017 Dec 6.

Health and Biotechnology (SaBio) Group, Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), Ciudad Real, Spain.

The red deer () is a relevant reservoir for in Iberia. genotypes that infect red deer also infect humans and domestic animals. Integrated control approaches that target both domestic and wild ruminants are, therefore, required to reduce infection risks in Iberia, especially in wildlife-livestock-human interaction scenarios. The aim of this field experiment was to test the efficacy of an inactivated phase I vaccine [Inactivated phase I vaccine (IPIV); Coxevac] when used to control shedding prevalence and burden in red deer as a tool to prevent transmission to livestock and humans. A semi-extensively bred red deer population in which is endemic was used as a model of the Iberian context. Around 75% of the reproductive hinds (>1 year old;  = 441) in the population were first vaccinated early in 2012 and were then revaccinated 3 weeks later; they were subsequently revaccinated biannually until January 2014. 75% of the yearling females left as replacement in 2012 and 2013 were vaccinated in June and revaccinated thereafter following the same protocol. 25% of the population, including the replacement females, was kept as a control group throughout the study. Changes in the humoral immune response after vaccination were estimated by analyzing sera collected at 10 different times between January 2011 and January 2015. The vaccinated and control hinds were surveyed at 2.5, 3.5, and 4.5 months after calving in 2012, 2013, and 2014 to collect vaginal swabs, milk, and feces. The presence and burden of DNA in swabs, milk, and feces was evaluated by means of real-time PCR. Vaccination induced high antibody prevalence and levels. The proportion of animals shedding in vaginal secretions and milk did not change over time in the vaccination group with respect to the control group. In contrast, there was a significant reduction in the proportion of deer shedding in feces in both the vaccinated and control groups. The decrease in the proportion of fecal shedders coincided with a significant reduction in the incidence of infection of non-vaccinated yearling females in the population. This finding suggests that long-term vaccination with IPIV could reduce environmental contamination with and control transmission, perhaps making this a promising tool with which to control in red deer in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2017.00208DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5723644PMC
December 2017

Detection of rat hepatitis E virus in wild Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) and Black rats (Rattus rattus) from 11 European countries.

Vet Microbiol 2017 Sep 4;208:58-68. Epub 2017 Jul 4.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases, Südufer 10, 17493 Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany; German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Partner Site Hamburg-Luebeck-Borstel-Insel Riems, Germany. Electronic address:

Rat hepatitis E virus (HEV) is genetically only distantly related to hepeviruses found in other mammalian reservoirs and in humans. It was initially detected in Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) from Germany, and subsequently in rats from Vietnam, the USA, Indonesia, China, Denmark and France. Here, we report on a molecular survey of Norway rats and Black rats (Rattus rattus) from 12 European countries for ratHEV and human pathogenic hepeviruses. RatHEV-specific real-time and conventional RT-PCR investigations revealed the presence of ratHEV in 63 of 508 (12.4%) rats at the majority of sites in 11 of 12 countries. In contrast, a real-time RT-PCR specific for human pathogenic HEV genotypes 1-4 and a nested broad-spectrum (NBS) RT-PCR with subsequent sequence determination did not detect any infections with these genotypes. Only in a single Norway rat from Belgium a rabbit HEV-like genotype 3 sequence was detected. Phylogenetic analysis indicated a clustering of all other novel Norway and Black rat-derived sequences with ratHEV sequences from Europe, the USA and a Black rat-derived sequence from Indonesia within the proposed ratHEV genotype 1. No difference in infection status was detected related to age, sex, rat species or density of human settlements and zoological gardens. In conclusion, our investigation shows a broad geographical distribution of ratHEV in Norway and Black rats from Europe and its presence in all settlement types investigated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2017.07.001DOI Listing
September 2017

Occurrence and characterization of stx and/or eae-positive Escherichia coli isolated from wildlife, including a typical EPEC strain from a wild boar.

Vet Microbiol 2017 Aug 1;207:69-73. Epub 2017 Jun 1.

Área Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Universidad de La Rioja, Logroño, Spain. Electronic address:

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) strains are food-borne pathogens associated with acute diarrhea. Haemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) is often a complication of STEC infection. In order to examine the occurrence, serotypes, virulence and antimicrobial-resistance profiles of STEC and EPEC in wildlife, 326 faecal E. coli strains from 304 clinically healthy animals were analyzed. For this approach stx, stx and eae genes, as well as accessory virulence determinants (ehx, hlyA, saa, tia, bfp, subAB) were PCR-screened and sequenced. Serotyping was performed employing all available O (O1-O185) and H (H1-H56) antisera. Genetic diversity was analyzed by XbaI-PFGE and phylotyping. Thirteen STEC (4.3%) and 10 EPEC (3.3%) were identified among 12 deer, 3 mouflon, 6 wild boars and 2 birds. Nine STEC showed seropathotypes B (O145:[H28]) and C (O22:H8, O128:[H2]) associated with HUS, and D (O110:H28, O146:H21, O146:[H28], ONT:H8) associated with human diarrhea. Although most isolates harbored stx and stx variants, stx and stx (related with severe disease) were also detected. Additionally, the eae gene was present in one stx-positive O145:[H28] STEC from a deer and 11 STEC harbored subAB genes (mainly the subAB variant). EPEC isolates showed 7 different intimin variants (β1, β2, γ1, ε1, ζ1, ι1-A, κ). Interestingly, the O49:[H10] eae-κ EPEC isolated from a wild boar was bfpA-positive showing a combination of serotype/virulence profile previously detected among human clinical tEPEC. Based on present results, wild ruminants, wild boars and to a lesser extent birds would be carriers of potentially pathogenic STEC and EPEC strains.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2017.05.028DOI Listing
August 2017

Combination of RT-PCR and proteomics for the identification of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus in ticks.

Heliyon 2017 Jul 12;3(7):e00353. Epub 2017 Jul 12.

SaBio. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Cinegéticos, IREC-CSIC-UCLM-JCCM, 13005 Ciudad Real, Spain.

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is an emerging tick-borne zoonotic disease caused by the CCHF virus (CCHFV). In this study, an experimental approach combining RT-PCR and proteomics was used for the identification and characterization of CCHFV in 106 ticks from 7 species that were collected from small ruminants in Greece. The methodological approach included an initial screening for CCHFV by RT-PCR followed by proteomics analysis of positive and control negative tick samples. This novel approach allowed the identification of CCHFV-positive ticks and provided additional information to corroborate the RT-PCR findings using a different approach. Two ticks, and collected from a goat and a sheep, respectively were positive for CCHFV. The sequences for CCHFV RNA segments S and L were characterized by RT-PCR and proteomics analysis of tick samples, respectively. These results showed the possibility of combining analyses at the RNA and protein levels using RT-PCR and proteomics for the characterization of CCHFV in ticks. The results supported that the CCHFV identified in ticks are genetic variants of the AP92 strain. Although the AP92-like strains probably do not represent a high risk of CCHF to the population, the circulation of genetically diverse CCHFV strains could potentially result in the appearance of novel viral genotypes with increased pathogenicity and fitness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2017.e00353DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5508474PMC
July 2017

Tick-host conflict: immunoglobulin E antibodies to tick proteins in patients with anaphylaxis to tick bite.

Oncotarget 2017 Mar;8(13):20630-20644

SaBio, Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Cinegéticos, IREC-CSIC-UCLM-JCCM, Ciudad Real, Spain.

Tick-borne infectious diseases and allergies are a growing problem worldwide. Tick bite allergy has been associated with the direct effect of immunoglobulin E (IgE) response to tick salivary antigens, or secondary to the induction of allergy to red meat consumption through IgE antibodies against the carbohydrate α-Gal (Gal α 1-3Gal β 1-(3)4GlcNAc-R). However, despite the growing burden of this pathology, the proteins associated with anaphylaxis to tick bite have not been characterized. To address this question, a comparative proteomics approach was used to characterize tick proteins producing an IgE antibody response in a healthy individual with record of tick bites, which had not resulted in any allergic reactions, and two patients with anaphylactic reactions to Rhipicephalus bursa or Hyalomma marginatum tick bites. Both patients and the healthy individual were red meat tolerant. The results supported a patient-specific IgE antibody response to tick species responsible for the anaphylaxis to tick bite. Both patients and the healthy individual serologically recognized tick proteins with and without α-Gal modifications, with proteins differentially recognized by patients but not control sera. These proteins could be used as potential antigens for diagnostics, treatment and prevention of tick bite-induced allergies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.15243DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5400532PMC
March 2017

High frequency of B2 phylogroup among non-clonally related fecal Escherichia coli isolates from wild boars, including the lineage ST131.

FEMS Microbiol Ecol 2017 03;93(3)

Área Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Universidad de La Rioja, 26006 Logroño, Spain.

Wild boars are worldwide distributed mammals which population is increasing in many regions, like the Iberian Peninsula, leading to an increased exposition to humans. They are considered reservoirs of different zoonotic pathogens and have been postulated as potential vectors of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance and phylogenetic distribution of Escherichia coli from wild boar feces. Antimicrobial resistance and integron content was genetically characterized and E. coli of B2 phylogroup was further analyzed by molecular typing and virulence genotyping. The prevalence of AMR E. coli was low, with only 7.5% of isolates being resistant against at least one antimicrobial, mainly ampicillin, tetracycline and/or sulfonamide. An unexpected elevated rate of B2 phylogroup (47.5%) was identified, most of them showing unrelated pulsed-field-gel-electrophoresis patterns. ST131/B2 (fimH 22 sublineage), ST28/B2, ST1170/B2, ST681/B2 and ST625/B2 clones, previously described in extraintestinal infections in humans, were detected in B2 isolates, and carried one or more genes associated with extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC). This study demonstrated a low prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in E. coli from wild boars, although they are not exempt of AMR bacteria, and a predominance of genetically diverse B2 phylogroup, including isolates carrying ExPEC which may contribute to the spread of virulence determinants among different ecosystems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fix016DOI Listing
March 2017

Coxiella burnetii Genotypes in Iberian Wildlife.

Microb Ecol 2016 11 23;72(4):890-897. Epub 2016 May 23.

Health & Biotechnology (SaBio) Group, Spanish Wildlife Research Institute IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), Ronda de Toledo s/n, 13005, Ciudad Real, Spain.

To investigate if Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q fever, genotypes circulating in wildlife are associated with those infecting livestock and humans, multiple-locus variable number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA-6-marker) was carried out over C. burnetii obtained from red deer (Cervus elaphus), Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa), European wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), black rat (Rattus rattus), and wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus). MLVA typing was performed by using six variable loci in C. burnetii: Ms23, Ms24, Ms27, Ms28, Ms33, and Ms34. The C. burnetii cooperative database from MLVABank 5.0 was employed to compare genotypes found in this study with 344 isolates of diverse origin. Twenty-two genotypes from wildlife and two genotypes from domestic goats were identified. Some MLVA genotypes identified in wildlife or in farmed game clustered with genotypes of human Q fever clinical cases, supporting the idea that humans and wildlife share C. burnetii genotypes. The major part of genotypes identified in coexisting red deer and rabbits clustered according to their host of origin, suggesting host specificity for particular C. burnetii genotypes. These findings provide important insights to understand the epidemiology of C. burnetii at the wildlife-livestock-human interface.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00248-016-0786-9DOI Listing
November 2016

Genotypes of Coxiella burnetii in wildlife: disentangling the molecular epidemiology of a multi-host pathogen.

Environ Microbiol Rep 2016 Oct 18;8(5):708-714. Epub 2016 Jul 18.

Health and Biotechnology (SaBio) group, Spanish Wildlife Research Institute IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), Ronda de Toledo 12, Ciudad Real 13071, Spain.

Evidences point to a relevant role of wildlife in the ecology of Coxiella burnetii worldwide. The lack of information on C. burnetii genotypes in wildlife prevents tracing-back clinical animal and human Q fever cases with potential wildlife origin. To compare C. burnetii genotypes circulating in wildlife, livestock and humans, 107 samples from red deer, European wild rabbit, racoon, small mammals, goat and sheep were genotyped by polymerase chain reaction and reverse line blot hybridization. Genomic groups I, II, VI and VII were found in wildlife and groups I, II, III and IV in domestic ruminants. Livestock genotypes clustered mainly with genotypes reported previously in livestock. Genotyping confirmed previous findings that suggest that C. burnetii may display host specificity since most genotypes of sympatric deer and rabbits clustered in separate groups. Wildlife genotypes clustered with genotypes from ticks and from acute hepatitis human Q fever cases, suggesting that particular C. burnetii genotypes circulating in a wildlife-tick cycle may occasionally jump into humans through tick bites or exposure to wildlife. This finding could be behind the reported geographic variation in the clinical presentation of acute Q fever in humans in Spain: atypical pneumonia in the north and hepatitis in the south.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1758-2229.12431DOI Listing
October 2016

Long-Term Dynamics of Coxiella burnetii in Farmed Red Deer (Cervus elaphus).

Front Vet Sci 2015 11;2:74. Epub 2015 Dec 11.

Health and Biotechnology (SaBio) Group, Spanish Wildlife Research Institute IREC (CSIC, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha) , Ciudad Real , Spain.

Several aspects of the dynamics of Coxiella burnetii that are relevant for the implementation of control strategies in ruminant herds with endemic Q fever are unknown. We designed a longitudinal study to monitor the dynamics of exposure to C. burnetii in a red deer herd with endemic infection in order to allow the design of Q fever-specific control approaches. Other relevant aspects of the dynamics of C. burnetii - the effect of herd immune status, age, season, and early infection on exposure, the average half-life of antibodies, the presence and duration of maternal humoral immunity, and the age of first exposure - were analyzed. The dynamics of C. burnetii in deer herds seems to be modulated by host herd and host individual factors and by particular host life-history traits. Red deer females become exposed to C. burnetii at the beginning of their second year since maternal antibodies protect them after birth and during the main pathogen shedding season - at the end of spring-early summer. Infection pressure varies between years, probably associated with herd immunity effects, determining inter-annual variation in the risk of exposure. These results suggest that any strategy applied to control C. burnetii in deer herds should be designed to induce immunity in their first year of life immediately after losing maternal antibodies. The short average life of C. burnetii antibodies suggests that any protection based on humoral immunity would require re-vaccination every 6 months.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2015.00074DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4676194PMC
December 2015

A picture of trends in Aujeszky's disease virus exposure in wild boar in the Swiss and European contexts.

BMC Vet Res 2015 Nov 7;11:277. Epub 2015 Nov 7.

Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health (FIWI), Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Background: In parallel to the increase of wild boar abundance in the past decades, an increase of exposure to the Aujeszky's disease virus (ADV) has been reported in wild boar in several parts of Europe. Since high animal densities have been proposed to be one of the major factors influencing ADV seroprevalence in wild boar populations and wild boar abundance has increased in Switzerland, too, a re-evaluation of the ADV status was required in wild boar in Switzerland. We tested wild boar sera collected from 2008-2013 with a commercial ELISA for antibodies against ADV. To set our data in the European context, we reviewed scientific publications on ADV serosurveys in Europe for two time periods (1995-2007 and 2008-2014).

Results: Seven out of 1,228 wild boar sera were positive for antibodies against ADV, resulting in an estimated seroprevalence of 0.57% (95% confidence interval CI: 0.32-0.96%). This is significantly lower than the prevalence of a previous survey in 2004-2005. The literature review revealed that high to very high ADV seroprevalences are reported from Mediterranean and Central-eastern countries. By contrast, an "island" of low to medium seroprevalences is observed in the centre of Europe with few isolated foci of high seroprevalences. We were unable to identify a general temporal trend of ADV seroprevalence at European scale.

Conclusions: The seroprevalence of ADV in wild boar in Switzerland belongs among the lowest documented in Europe. Considering the disparity of seroprevalences in wild boar in Europe, the fact that seroprevalences in Switzerland and other countries have decreased despite increasing wild boar densities and the knowledge that stress leads to the reactivation of latent ADV with subsequent excretion and transmission, we hypothesize that not only animal density but a range of factors leading to stress - such as management - might play a crucial role in the dynamics of ADV infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12917-015-0592-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4636826PMC
November 2015

Culicoides Species Communities Associated with Wild Ruminant Ecosystems in Spain: Tracking the Way to Determine Potential Bridge Vectors for Arboviruses.

PLoS One 2015 28;10(10):e0141667. Epub 2015 Oct 28.

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

The genus Culicoides Latreille 1809 is a well-known vector for protozoa, filarial worms and, above all, numerous viruses. The Bluetongue virus (BTV) and the recently emerged Schmallenberg virus (SBV) are responsible for important infectious, non-contagious, insect-borne viral diseases found in domestic ruminants and transmitted by Culicoides spp. Both of these diseases have been detected in wild ruminants, but their role as reservoirs during the vector-free season still remains relatively unknown. In fact, we tend to ignore the possibility of wild ruminants acting as a source of disease (BTV, SBV) and permitting its reintroduction to domestic ruminants during the following vector season. In this context, a knowledge of the composition of the Culicoides species communities that inhabit areas where there are wild ruminants is of major importance as the presence of a vector species is a prerequisite for disease transmission. In this study, samplings were conducted in areas inhabited by different wild ruminant species; samples were taken in both 2009 and 2010, on a monthly basis, during the peak season for midge activity (in summer and autumn). A total of 102,693 specimens of 40 different species of the genus Culicoides were trapped; these included major BTV and SBV vector species. The most abundant vector species were C. imicola and species of the Obsoletus group, which represented 15% and 11% of total numbers of specimens, respectively. At the local scale, the presence of major BTV and SBV vector species in areas with wild ruminants coincided with that of the nearest sentinel farms included in the Spanish Bluetongue Entomological Surveillance Programme, although their relative abundance varied. The data suggest that such species do not exhibit strong host specificity towards either domestic or wild ruminants and that they could consequently play a prominent role as bridge vectors for different pathogens between both types of ruminants. This finding would support the hypothesis that wild ruminants could act as reservoirs for such pathogens, and subsequently be involved in the reintroduction of disease to livestock on neighbouring farms.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141667PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4624870PMC
June 2016

Shedding patterns of endemic Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) pathogens.

Res Vet Sci 2015 Oct 31;102:206-11. Epub 2015 Aug 31.

Health & Biotechnology (SaBio) Group, Spanish Wildlife Research Institute IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), Ronda de Toledo s/n, 13005 Ciudad Real, Spain. Electronic address:

The Eurasianwild boar has experienced aworldwide demographic explosion that increases awareness on shared pathogens. However, shedding routes of relevant wild boar pathogens are unknown. Previous observations on sex- and age-related differences in Aujeszky's disease virus (ADV) exposure led us to hypothesize that shedding patterns of endemicwild boar pathogens may be influenced by individual traits.We investigated shedding routes of ADV, porcine parvovirus (PPV), porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) and Coxiella burnetii and analysed the effect of host sex and age on pathogen shedding patterns. The presence of pathogen antibodies in serumand of pathogen DNA in oral, nasal, genital and rectal swabswas analysed by ELISA and PCR, respectively. The influence of sex and age in pathogen shedding prevalencewas tested statistically.Main routes of ADV, PPV, PCV2 and C. burnetii shedding were identified but the hypothesis of sex- and/or age-related shedding patterns couldn't be confirmed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2015.08.014DOI Listing
October 2015

Host and Environmental Factors Modulate the Exposure of Free-Ranging and Farmed Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) to Coxiella burnetii.

Appl Environ Microbiol 2015 Sep 6;81(18):6223-31. Epub 2015 Jul 6.

Health and Biotechnology (SaBio) Group, Spanish Wildlife Research Institute (IREC) (CSIC-UCLM), Ciudad Real, Spain.

The control of multihost pathogens, such as Coxiella burnetii, should rely on accurate information about the roles played by the main hosts. We aimed to determine the involvement of the red deer (Cervus elaphus) in the ecology of C. burnetii. We predicted that red deer populations from broad geographic areas within a European context would be exposed to C. burnetii, and therefore, we hypothesized that a series of factors would modulate the exposure of red deer to C. burnetii. To test this hypothesis, we designed a retrospective survey of 47 Iberian red deer populations from which 1,751 serum samples and 489 spleen samples were collected. Sera were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) in order to estimate exposure to C. burnetii, and spleen samples were analyzed by PCR in order to estimate the prevalence of systemic infections. Thereafter, we gathered 23 variables-within environmental, host, and management factors-potentially modulating the risk of exposure of deer to C. burnetii, and we performed multivariate statistical analyses to identify the main risk factors. Twenty-three populations were seropositive (48.9%), and C. burnetii DNA in the spleen was detected in 50% of the populations analyzed. The statistical analyses reflect the complexity of C. burnetii ecology and suggest that although red deer may maintain the circulation of C. burnetii without third species, the most frequent scenario probably includes other wild and domestic host species. These findings, taken together with previous evidence of C. burnetii shedding by naturally infected red deer, point at this wild ungulate as a true reservoir for C. burnetii and an important node in the life cycle of C. burnetii, at least in the Iberian Peninsula.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.01433-15DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4542230PMC
September 2015

European Rabbits as Reservoir for Coxiella burnetii.

Emerg Infect Dis 2015 Jun;21(6):1055-8

We studied the role of European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) as a reservoir for Coxiella burnetii in the Iberian region. High individual and population seroprevalences observed in wild and farmed rabbits, evidence of systemic infections, and vaginal shedding support the reservoir role of the European rabbit for C. burnetii.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2106.141537DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4451900PMC
June 2015

High prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carrying the mecC gene in a semi-extensive red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) farm in Southern Spain.

Vet Microbiol 2015 Jun 14;177(3-4):326-31. Epub 2015 Apr 14.

Area of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of La Rioja, Logroño, Spain. Electronic address:

The objective was to determine the prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage in red deer of a semi-extensive farm and in humans in contact with the estate animals, and to characterize obtained isolates. Nasal swabs of 65 deer and 15 humans were seeded on mannitol-salt-agar and oxacillin-resistance-screening-agar-base. Isolates were identified by microbiological and molecular methods. Antimicrobial susceptibility profile was determined for 16 antibiotics by disk-diffusion and the presence of eight antibiotic resistance genes, seven virulence genes and genes of immune-evasion-cluster (IEC) was analyzed by PCR. S. aureus was typed by PFGE-SmaI, spa, agr, SCCmec and MLST. Isolates were detected in 16 deer (24.6%). Eleven S. aureus isolates were methicillin-resistant (MRSA), and five were methicillin-susceptible (MSSA). All MRSA harbored mecC gene and were agr-III/SCCmecXI/ST1945 (four spa-t843 and seven spa-t1535). All mecC-MRSA carried blaZ-SCCmecXI and etd2, were IEC-type-E, and belonged to the same PFGE pattern. The five MSSA were typed as spa-t2420/agr-I/ST133. Regarding humans, S. aureus was recovered from six samples (40%). The isolates were MSSA and were typed as spa-t002/agr-II, spa-t012/agr-III or spa-t822/agr-III and showed different IEC types (A, B, D and F). blaZ and erm(A) genes were detected, as well as cna and tst genes. As conclusion, red deer analyzed in this study are frequent carriers of mecC-MRSA CC130 (16.9%), they are characterized by few resistance and virulence determinants, and by the presence of IEC type-E. Deer could be a source of mecC-MRSA which could potentially be transmitted to other animals, or even to humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2015.03.029DOI Listing
June 2015

Detection of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis ST6-vanB2 and E. faecium ST915-vanA in faecal samples of wild Rattus rattus in Spain.

Vet Microbiol 2015 May 4;177(1-2):168-74. Epub 2015 Mar 4.

Área Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Universidad de La Rioja, Logroño, Spain. Electronic address:

The detection of vancomycin-resistant-enterococci (VRE) among wild animals represents a worrisome public health concern. The objectives of the study were to determine the possible presence of VRE in faecal samples of wild small mammals in Spain, to characterize the vancomycin resistance mechanisms and genetic lineages of recovered isolates and to know the diversity of enterococcal species in these animals. A total of 155 faecal samples from small mammals were inoculated in Slanetz-Bartley agar supplemented or not with vancomycin (Van-SB/SB plates). The antimicrobial susceptibility profile to 12 antimicrobials and the presence of 20 antimicrobial resistance genes was analyzed. The structure of Tn1546 and the presence of gelE, cylA, asa, esp and hyl genes was studied. Multilocus-sequence-typing (MLST) technique was also performed. VRE isolates were recovered in Van-SB plates in 11 samples. Two samples contained vanB2-positive E. faecalis isolates of lineage ST6, which showed a multiresistance phenotype and harboured the virulence genes gelE and asa. One sample contained a vancomycin-resistant E. faecium isolate of the new lineage ST915, with the vanA gene included into Tn1546 (truncated with IS1542 and IS1216 elements). The vanB2 and vanA isolates were obtained from Rattus rattus. The remaining eight VRE-positive samples contained species with intrinsic vancomycin-resistance mechanisms: E. casseliflavus (n=5) and E. gallinarum (n=3). One hundred and forty-seven vancomycin-susceptible-enterococcal isolates were obtained in SB plates, and E. faecalis and E. faecium were the most frequent detected species. This is the first report of vanB2-containing enterococci in wild animals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2015.02.025DOI Listing
May 2015
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