Publications by authors named "Katherine C Prager"

10 Publications

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Estimating prevalence and test accuracy in disease ecology: How Bayesian latent class analysis can boost or bias imperfect test results.

Ecol Evol 2020 Jul 15;10(14):7221-7232. Epub 2020 Jun 15.

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles CA USA.

Obtaining accurate estimates of disease prevalence is crucial for the monitoring and management of wildlife populations but can be difficult if different diagnostic tests yield conflicting results and if the accuracy of each diagnostic test is unknown. Bayesian latent class analysis (BLCA) modeling offers a potential solution, providing estimates of prevalence levels and diagnostic test accuracy under the realistic assumption that no diagnostic test is perfect.In typical applications of this approach, the specificity of one test is fixed at or close to 100%, allowing the model to simultaneously estimate the sensitivity and specificity of all other tests, in addition to infection prevalence. In wildlife systems, a test with near-perfect specificity is not always available, so we simulated data to investigate how decreasing this fixed specificity value affects the accuracy of model estimates.We used simulations to explore how the trade-off between diagnostic test specificity and sensitivity impacts prevalence estimates and found that directional biases depend on pathogen prevalence. Both the precision and accuracy of results depend on the sample size, the diagnostic tests used, and the true infection prevalence, so these factors should be considered when applying BLCA to estimate disease prevalence and diagnostic test accuracy in wildlife systems. A wildlife disease case study, focusing on leptospirosis in California sea lions, demonstrated the potential for Bayesian latent class methods to provide reliable estimates under real-world conditions.We delineate conditions under which BLCA improves upon the results from a single diagnostic across a range of prevalence levels and sample sizes, demonstrating when this method is preferable for disease ecologists working in a wide variety of pathogen systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6448DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7391344PMC
July 2020

Climate variability and life history impact stress, thyroid, and immune markers in California sea lions () during El Niño conditions.

Conserv Physiol 2019 15;7(1):coz010. Epub 2019 May 15.

Department of Biology, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA, USA.

Wildlife is exposed to a diverse set of extrinsic and intrinsic stressors, such as climatic variation or life history constraints, which may impact individual health and fitness. El Niño and climatic anomalies between 2013 and 2016 had major ecological impacts on the California Current ecosystem. As top marine predators, California sea lions (CSL) experienced decreased prey availability and foraging success, impacting their nutritional state. We hypothesize that chronic stress to juvenile CSL increased during the 2015-2016 El Niño and that breeding represents a period of chronic stress for adults, which impact a variety of physiological processes. We opportunistically captured and sampled juvenile CSL (female,  29; male,  38) in central California and adult male CSL ( 76) in Astoria, Oregon and quantified a suite of analytes in serum as indicators of acute stress markers, metabolism and thyroid function, and adaptive immune response. We found that stress hormones and glucose were decreased in juvenile CSL during 2016 relative to 2015 and in adult male CSL after the breeding season, which may indicate chronic stress downregulating HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis sensitivity with associated metabolic impacts. Conversely, thyroid hormones for both juvenile and adult male CSL were increased, suggesting greater energetic requirements resulting from increased foraging activity during suboptimal conditions in juveniles and breeding tenure in adult males. Immunoglobulin IgG was elevated in juveniles in 2016 but reduced in adult males post-breeding. This suggests that juveniles may face immunostimulatory pressure during anomalously warm ocean environments; however, for adult males, breeding is a significant energetic cost resulting in reductions to immune function. Our results indicate that environmental conditions and life history stage may influence physiological responses in an important marine predator and a sentinel species of changing ocean ecosystems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/conphys/coz010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6518924PMC
May 2019

Proteomic Analysis of Urine from California Sea Lions ( Zalophus californianus): A Resource for Urinary Biomarker Discovery.

J Proteome Res 2018 09 28;17(9):3281-3291. Epub 2018 Aug 28.

Hollings Marine Laboratory , College of Charleston , Charleston , South Carolina 29412 , United States.

Urinary markers for the assessment of kidney diseases in wild animals are limited, in part, due to the lack of urinary proteome data, especially for marine mammals. One of the most prevalent kidney diseases in marine mammals is caused by Leptospira interrogans, which is the second most common etiology linked to stranding of California sea lions ( Zalophus californianus). Urine proteins from 11 sea lions with leptospirosis kidney disease and eight sea lions without leptospirosis or kidney disease were analyzed using shotgun proteomics. In total, 2694 protein groups were identified, and 316 were differentially abundant between groups. Major urine proteins in sea lions were similar to major urine proteins in dogs and humans except for the preponderance of resistin, lysozyme C, and PDZ domain containing 1, which appear to be over-represented. Previously reported urine protein markers of kidney injury in humans and animals were also identified. Notably, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, osteopontin, and epidermal fatty acid binding protein were elevated over 20-fold in the leptospirosis-infected sea lions. Consistent with leptospirosis infection in rodents, urinary proteins associated with the renin-angiotensin system were depressed, including neprilysin. This study represents a foundation from which to explore the clinical use of urinary protein markers in California sea lions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jproteome.8b00416DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7607554PMC
September 2018

Detecting signals of chronic shedding to explain pathogen persistence: Leptospira interrogans in California sea lions.

J Anim Ecol 2017 May 3;86(3):460-472. Epub 2017 Apr 3.

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California - Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Identifying mechanisms driving pathogen persistence is a vital component of wildlife disease ecology and control. Asymptomatic, chronically infected individuals are an oft-cited potential reservoir of infection, but demonstrations of the importance of chronic shedding to pathogen persistence at the population-level remain scarce. Studying chronic shedding using commonly collected disease data is hampered by numerous challenges, including short-term surveillance that focuses on single epidemics and acutely ill individuals, the subtle dynamical influence of chronic shedding relative to more obvious epidemic drivers, and poor ability to differentiate between the effects of population prevalence of chronic shedding vs. intensity and duration of chronic shedding in individuals. We use chronic shedding of Leptospira interrogans serovar Pomona in California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) as a case study to illustrate how these challenges can be addressed. Using leptospirosis-induced strands as a measure of disease incidence, we fit models with and without chronic shedding, and with different seasonal drivers, to determine the time-scale over which chronic shedding is detectable and the interactions between chronic shedding and seasonal drivers needed to explain persistence and outbreak patterns. Chronic shedding can enable persistence of L. interrogans within the sea lion population. However, the importance of chronic shedding was only apparent when surveillance data included at least two outbreaks and the intervening inter-epidemic trough during which fadeout of transmission was most likely. Seasonal transmission, as opposed to seasonal recruitment of susceptibles, was the dominant driver of seasonality in this system, and both seasonal factors had limited impact on long-term pathogen persistence. We show that the temporal extent of surveillance data can have a dramatic impact on inferences about population processes, where the failure to identify both short- and long-term ecological drivers can have cascading impacts on understanding higher order ecological phenomena, such as pathogen persistence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12656DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7166352PMC
May 2017

Complementary approaches to diagnosing marine diseases: a union of the modern and the classic.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2016 Mar;371(1689)

Oregon State University, 454 Nash Hall, Corvallis, OR 97330, USA.

Linking marine epizootics to a specific aetiology is notoriously difficult. Recent diagnostic successes show that marine disease diagnosis requires both modern, cutting-edge technology (e.g. metagenomics, quantitative real-time PCR) and more classic methods (e.g. transect surveys, histopathology and cell culture). Here, we discuss how this combination of traditional and modern approaches is necessary for rapid and accurate identification of marine diseases, and emphasize how sole reliance on any one technology or technique may lead disease investigations astray. We present diagnostic approaches at different scales, from the macro (environment, community, population and organismal scales) to the micro (tissue, organ, cell and genomic scales). We use disease case studies from a broad range of taxa to illustrate diagnostic successes from combining traditional and modern diagnostic methods. Finally, we recognize the need for increased capacity of centralized databases, networks, data repositories and contingency plans for diagnosis and management of marine disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0207DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4760137PMC
March 2016

Development of a real-time PCR for the detection of pathogenic Leptospira spp. in California sea lions.

Dis Aquat Organ 2014 Aug;110(3):165-72

Hollings Marine Laboratory, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, Charleston, South Carolina 29412, USA.

Several real-time PCR assays are currently used for detection of pathogenic Leptospira spp.; however, few methods have been described for the successful evaluation of clinical urine samples. This study reports a rapid assay for the detection of pathogenic Leptospira spp. in California sea lions Zalophus californianus using real-time PCR with primers and a probe targeting the lipL32 gene. The PCR assay had high analytic sensitivity-the limit of detection was 3 genome copies per PCR volume using L. interrogans serovar Pomona DNA and 100% analytic specificity; it detected all pathogenic leptospiral serovars tested and none of the non-pathogenic Leptospira species (L. biflexa and L. meyeri serovar Semaranga), the intermediate species L. inadai, or the non-Leptospira pathogens tested. Our assay had an amplification efficiency of 1.00. Comparisons between the real-time PCR assay and culture isolation for detection of pathogenic Leptospira spp. in urine and kidney tissue samples from California sea lions showed that samples were more often positive by real-time PCR than by culture methods. Inclusion of an internal amplification control in the real-time PCR assay showed no inhibitory effects in PCR negative samples. These studies indicated that our real-time PCR assay has high analytic sensitivity and specificity for the rapid detection of pathogenic Leptospira species in urine and kidney tissue samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/dao02752DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6423441PMC
August 2014

Climate change influences on marine infectious diseases: implications for management and society.

Ann Rev Mar Sci 2014 27;6:249-77. Epub 2013 Jun 27.

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853; email: , *

Infectious diseases are common in marine environments, but the effects of a changing climate on marine pathogens are not well understood. Here we review current knowledge about how the climate drives host-pathogen interactions and infectious disease outbreaks. Climate-related impacts on marine diseases are being documented in corals, shellfish, finfish, and humans; these impacts are less clearly linked for other organisms. Oceans and people are inextricably linked, and marine diseases can both directly and indirectly affect human health, livelihoods, and well-being. We recommend an adaptive management approach to better increase the resilience of ocean systems vulnerable to marine diseases in a changing climate. Land-based management methods of quarantining, culling, and vaccinating are not successful in the ocean; therefore, forecasting conditions that lead to outbreaks and designing tools/approaches to influence these conditions may be the best way to manage marine disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-marine-010213-135029DOI Listing
March 2014

Contact with domestic dogs increases pathogen exposure in endangered African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus).

PLoS One 2012 6;7(1):e30099. Epub 2012 Jan 6.

Institute of Zoology, Regent's Park, London, United Kingdom.

Background: Infectious diseases have contributed to the decline and local extinction of several wildlife species, including African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus). Mitigating such disease threats is challenging, partly because uncertainty about disease dynamics makes it difficult to identify the best management approaches. Serious impacts on susceptible populations most frequently occur when generalist pathogens are maintained within populations of abundant (often domestic) "reservoir" hosts, and spill over into less abundant host species. If this is the case, disease control directed at the reservoir host might be most appropriate. However, pathogen transmission within threatened host populations may also be important, and may not be controllable by managing another host species.

Methodology/principal Findings: We investigated interspecific and intraspecific transmission routes, by comparing African wild dogs' exposure to six canine pathogens with behavioural measures of their opportunities for contact with domestic dogs and with other wild dogs. Domestic dog contact was associated with exposure to canine parvovirus, Ehrlichia canis, Neospora caninum and perhaps rabies virus, but not with exposure to canine distemper virus or canine coronavirus. Contact with other wild dogs appeared not to increase the risk of exposure to any of the pathogens.

Conclusions/significance: These findings, combined with other data, suggest that management directed at domestic dogs might help to protect wild dog populations from rabies virus, but not from canine distemper virus. However, further analyses are needed to determine the management approaches--including no intervention--which are most appropriate for each pathogen.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0030099PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3253127PMC
May 2012

The evolutionary dynamics of the lion Panthera leo revealed by host and viral population genomics.

PLoS Genet 2008 Nov 7;4(11):e1000251. Epub 2008 Nov 7.

Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Maryland, United States of America.

The lion Panthera leo is one of the world's most charismatic carnivores and is one of Africa's key predators. Here, we used a large dataset from 357 lions comprehending 1.13 megabases of sequence data and genotypes from 22 microsatellite loci to characterize its recent evolutionary history. Patterns of molecular genetic variation in multiple maternal (mtDNA), paternal (Y-chromosome), and biparental nuclear (nDNA) genetic markers were compared with patterns of sequence and subtype variation of the lion feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV(Ple)), a lentivirus analogous to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In spite of the ability of lions to disperse long distances, patterns of lion genetic diversity suggest substantial population subdivision (mtDNA Phi(ST) = 0.92; nDNA F(ST) = 0.18), and reduced gene flow, which, along with large differences in sero-prevalence of six distinct FIV(Ple) subtypes among lion populations, refute the hypothesis that African lions consist of a single panmictic population. Our results suggest that extant lion populations derive from several Pleistocene refugia in East and Southern Africa ( approximately 324,000-169,000 years ago), which expanded during the Late Pleistocene ( approximately 100,000 years ago) into Central and North Africa and into Asia. During the Pleistocene/Holocene transition ( approximately 14,000-7,000 years), another expansion occurred from southern refugia northwards towards East Africa, causing population interbreeding. In particular, lion and FIV(Ple) variation affirms that the large, well-studied lion population occupying the greater Serengeti Ecosystem is derived from three distinct populations that admixed recently.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1000251DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2572142PMC
November 2008

A serosurvey of viral infections in lions (Panthera leo), from Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda.

J Wildl Dis 2006 Jul;42(3):667-71

Department of Wildlife and Animal Resources Management, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.

Serum samples from 14 lions (Panthera leo) from Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, were collected during 1998 and 1999 to determine infectious disease exposure in this threatened population. Sera were analyzed for antibodies against feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline calicivirus (FCV), feline herpesvirus 1 (feline rhinotracheitis: FHV1), feline/canine parvovirus (FPV/CPV), feline infectious peritonitis virus (feline coronavirus: FIPV), and canine distemper virus (CDV) or for the presence of feline leukemia virus (FeLV) antigens. Ten lions (71%) had antibodies against FIV, 11 (79%) had antibodies against CDV, 11 (79%) had antibodies against FCV, nine (64%) had antibodies against FHV1, and five (36%) had antibodies against FPV. Two of the 11 CDV-seropositive lions were subadults, indicating recent exposure of this population to CDV or a CDV-like virus. No lions had evidence of exposure to FeLV or FIPV. These results indicate that this endangered population has extensive exposure to common feline and canine viruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7589/0090-3558-42.3.667DOI Listing
July 2006
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