Publications by authors named "Katja Schulz"

39 Publications

Neural Injury and Repair in a Novel Neonatal Mouse Model of Listeria Monocytogenes Meningoencephalitis.

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2021 Sep 6. Epub 2021 Sep 6.

From the Department of Neuropathology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany (JS, MB, SB, KS, CS, RN); Department of Geriatrics, Evangelisches Krankenhaus Göttingen-Weende, Göttingen, Germany (JS, MB, RN); Department of Neurology, RWTH University Hospital, Aachen, Germany (SCT); Department of Pathology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, Germany (AB); and Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics, Centre of Infection Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany (DP, MF).

To improve the therapy of neonatal central nervous system infections, well-characterized animal models are urgently needed. The present study analyzes neuropathological alterations with particular focus on neural injury and repair in brains of neonatal mice with Listeria monocytogenes (LM) meningitis/meningoencephalitis using a novel nasal infection model. The hippocampal formation and frontal cortex of 14 neonatal mice with LM meningitis/meningoencephalitis and 14 uninfected controls were analyzed by histology, immunohistochemistry, and in situ tailing for morphological alterations. In the dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation of mice with LM meningitis/meningoencephalitis, an increased density of apoptotic neurons visualized by in situ tailing (p = 0.04) and in situ tailing plus immunohistochemistry for activated Caspase-3 (p < 0.0001) was found. A decreased density of dividing cells stained with an anti-PCNA-antibody (p < 0.0001) and less neurogenesis visualized by anti-calretinin (p < 0.0001) and anti-calbindin (p = 0.01) antibodies were detected compared to uninfected controls. The density of microglia was higher in LM meningitis (p < 0.0001), while the density of astrocytes remained unchanged. Infiltrating monocytes and neutrophilic granulocytes likely contributed to tissue damage. In conclusion, in the brains of LM-infected mice a strong immune response was observed which led to neuronal apoptosis and an impaired neural regeneration. This model appears very suitable to study therapies against long-term sequelae of neonatal LM meningitis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nlab079DOI Listing
September 2021

African swine fever: Why the situation in Germany is not comparable to that in the Czech Republic or Belgium.

Transbound Emerg Dis 2021 Jul 10. Epub 2021 Jul 10.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Greifswald, Insel Riems, Germany.

After the first occurrence of African swine fever (ASF) in Germany in September 2020, control measures were implemented that resembled those taken in the Czech Republic and Belgium, the only two countries that succeeded in eliminating ASF from their territory so far in the current epidemic. In the present study, the epidemiological course of ASF in the first 6 months since introduction in these three countries is compared. Within 6 months, Germany experienced more cases than the Czech Republic and Belgium. The affected area in Germany, measured using minimal convex polygons, is much larger than the respective areas in the Czech Republic and in Belgium. All cases in the Czech Republic and in Belgium clustered in one single defined area, suggesting point-source introductions, whereas in Germany four distinct spatial clusters were observed, which indicates that multiple incursions had occurred along the border with Poland. While the overall course of the disease was comparable, when individual clusters were considered, the summarized data showed clear differences between the situation in Germany compared to that in the Czech Republic and Belgium. Germany experienced several independent introductions, caused by continuous infection pressure along the border to Poland, while the infection was only introduced on a single occasion each into the Czech Republic and Belgium. These differences may require appropriate adaptation of control measures, in particular concerning fencing along the border.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.14231DOI Listing
July 2021

African Swine Fever and Its Epidemiological Course in Lithuanian Wild Boar.

Viruses 2021 06 30;13(7). Epub 2021 Jun 30.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Südufer 10, 17493 Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany.

African swine fever (ASF) has been present in Lithuania since 2014. It is mainly the wild boar population that is affected. Currently, little is known about the epidemiological course of ASF in Lithuania. In the present study, ASF surveillance data from 2016-2021 were analyzed. The numbers of samples taken from hunted wild boar and wild boar found dead per year and month were recorded and the prevalence was estimated for each study month and administrative unit. A Bayesian space-time model was used to calculate the temporal trend of the prevalence estimates. In addition, population data were analyzed on a yearly basis. Most samples were investigated in 2016 and 2017 and originated from hunted animals. Prevalence estimates of ASF virus-positive wild boar decreased from May 2019 onwards. Seroprevalence estimates showed a slight decrease at the same time, but they increased again at the end of the study period. A significant decrease in the population density was observed over time. The results of the study show that ASF is still present in the Lithuanian wild boar population. A joint interdisciplinary effort is needed to identify weaknesses in the control of ASF in Lithuania and to combat the disease more successfully.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v13071276DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8310040PMC
June 2021

A Comparison of Perceptions of Estonian and Latvian Hunters With Regard to the Control of African Swine Fever.

Front Vet Sci 2021 14;8:642126. Epub 2021 Apr 14.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Greifswald, Germany.

Since the first detected African swine fever (ASF) cases in Lithuanian wild boar in 2014, the virus has occurred in many other member states of the European Union (EU), most recently in Belgium in 2018 and in Germany in 2020. Passive surveillance and various control measures are implemented as part of the strategy to stop disease spread in the wild boar population. Within this framework, hunters perform important activities, such as the removal of carcasses, fencing or hunting. Therefore, the successful implementation of these measures largely depends on their acceptability by hunters. Methods of participatory epidemiology can be used to determine the acceptance of control measures. The use of participatory methods allows the involvement of key stakeholders in the design, the implementation and the analysis of control and surveillance activities. In the present study, two studies that had been conducted using participatory epidemiology with hunters in Estonia and Latvia were compared on the topics recruitment, participants, facilitators, focus group discussion (FGDs) and their contents. The aim was to evaluate similarities and differences in the two studies and to identify a broader spectrum of possibilities to increase the willingness of hunters supporting the fight against ASF. Evaluating all conducted FGDs in both countries showed primarily similarities in the perceptions and opinions of the hunters in Estonia and Latvia. One notable difference was that passive surveillance in Latvia was perceived mostly as topic of duty and ethics rather than an issue driven by incentives. Participatory methods have proven to be an effective tool in the evaluation of the acceptance of established ASF control systems. The results of this study point out further chances for improving the cooperation with hunters in the future. Nevertheless, the importance of gathering and analyzing the opinions of hunters in all ASF affected countries individually is highlighted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2021.642126DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8079805PMC
April 2021

What Do Lithuanian Hunters Think of African Swine Fever and Its Control-Perceptions.

Animals (Basel) 2021 Feb 18;11(2). Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Südufer 10, 17493 Greifswald, Germany.

After the introduction of African swine fever (ASF) into Lithuania in 2014, continuous spread of the disease resulted in infection of the wild boar populations in most parts of Lithuania. The virus has been moving closer to other Western European countries where pig density is high. An efficient surveillance system detecting ASF cases early in domestic and wild animals is necessary to manage this disease. To make surveillance appropriate and effective, it is critical to understand how key players perceive the implemented control measures. This study investigated the attitudes and beliefs of hunters in Lithuania regarding currently implemented or proposed measures for the control of ASF in the wild boar population. Study data were collected through questionnaires distributed via the internet and by hunting associations in Lithuania. In total, 621 fully completed questionnaires were received and analyzed. All measures interfering with extensive hunting, like ban of driven or individual hunting or ban of supplementary feeding were considered as unacceptable and as ineffective measures to control ASF in wild boar. However, selective hunting of female wild boar was generally considered as an unethical act and therefore rejected. Some measures that seem to have been successful in other countries, like involvement of additional forces, were rejected by Lithuanian hunters, thus implementation of these measures could be difficult. The study highlighted that there is a need for improving important relationships with other stakeholders, since many hunters expressed a lack of trust in governmental institutions and regarded cooperation with them as insufficient. Hunters emphasized that their motivation to support passive surveillance measures could be improved with financial compensation and reduction of workload. The present study provides insights into hunters' perceptions, which may be used as a foundation for additional discussions with these important stakeholders and for adapting measures to improve their acceptance if appropriate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani11020525DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7922269PMC
February 2021

Hunters' view on the control of African swine fever in wild boar. A participatory study in Latvia.

Prev Vet Med 2021 Jan 1;186:105229. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Südufer 10, 17493, Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany. Electronic address:

African swine fever (ASF) has massively spread in recent years and threatens the global pig industry. ASF has been present in Latvia since 2014. Hunters play a major role in the implementation of measures to control ASF and in passive disease surveillance. The probability to detect an ASF-positive wild boar is much higher in animals found dead than in hunted animals. Thus, the willingness and the motivation of hunters to support passive surveillance is of utmost importance. Using participatory methods, this study aimed to assess the acceptability of control measures for ASF in wild boar among hunters. In addition, new approaches to increase hunters' motivation to report wild boar found dead were investigated. A total of ten focus group discussions with hunters from different regions in Latvia were conducted. To assess the quantity and quality of contacts between hunters and stakeholders involved in the control of ASF, relation diagrams were used. Using ranking tools, the trust of the participants in stakeholders to implement control measures successfully was evaluated. Defined control measures were presented to the hunters and their acceptability investigated. An impact diagram and a list of defined motivation options for passive surveillance were offered to identify new ways to increase the willingness of hunters to support passive surveillance actively. A satisfactory and regular relationship was identified between the hunters, the Food and Veterinary Service (FVS) and the State Forest Service (SFS). The hunters' trust in these authorities was high. Although there is no vaccine against ASF, hunters were convinced of the potential of vaccination in controlling ASF. However, building fences was considered as useless and ineffective. To increase the willingness of hunters to support passive surveillance, reducing the infection pressure in the forests was regarded as most motivating. Furthermore, hunters would appreciate a decrease in their costs and workload. The study provides new insight into the concerns and experiences of hunters. Including their views and expectations in the further design and implementation of control and surveillance activities may help to improve current efforts to control ASF in wild boar populations. Although representing the perceptions of Latvian hunters, the main conclusions may be adaptable to adjust ASF control and surveillance in other countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105229DOI Listing
January 2021

Thickness and Curvature Changes of Human Corneal Grafts in Dextran-Containing Organ Culture Medium Before Keratoplasty.

Cornea 2021 Jun;40(6):733-740

Department of Ophthalmology, Saarland University Medical Center, Homburg/Saar, Germany.

Purpose: To determine the changes of corneal thickness and curvature of human corneal grafts in organ culture medium II, containing dextran T500 6%, before keratoplasty.

Methods: We examined the tomography of 24 corneas from our eye bank transferred from medium I into medium II. Images were repeated hourly during 24 hours using an anterior segment optical coherence tomography. The central corneal thickness (CCT) was measured with the manual measurement tool of the anterior segment optical coherence tomography. The radii of curvature (anterior flat and steep and posterior flat and steep) were measured with a MATLAB self-programmed software for "sterile donor tomography."

Results: The mean CCT (±SD) at baseline (T0) was 727 ± 156 μm. It reached 581 ± 103, 506 ± 84, 472 ± 79, and 456±7 μm after 6, 12, 18, and 24 hours, respectively. After 12 hours, 83% of the final deswelling was achieved. The radii of curvature (±SD) at baseline (T0) were (posterior flat, posterior steep, anterior flat, and anterior steep) 6.6 ± 0.5, 6.2 ± 0.5, 7.7 ± 0.4, and 7.4 ± 0.4 mm, respectively. After 24 hours, the radii of curvature reached 6.8 ± 0.1, 6.6 ± 0.3, 7.6 ± 0.1, and 7.4 ± 0.2 mm, respectively.

Conclusions: The kinetics of the deswelling process in medium II follow a hyperbolic curve. Considering a CCT of 506 μm at T12, we assume that a time interval of 12 hours in medium II might be enough for clinical purposes. This result might help to keep storage in medium II as short as possible to escape potential toxic effects of dextran in medium II. The radius of curvature does not seem to change within 24 hours for all measured surfaces.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ICO.0000000000002543DOI Listing
June 2021

Joining the club: First detection of African swine fever in wild boar in Germany.

Transbound Emerg Dis 2021 Jul 6;68(4):1744-1752. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany.

African swine fever (ASF) has spread across many countries in Europe since the introduction into Georgia in 2007. We report here on the first cases of ASF in wild boar detected in Germany close to the border with Poland. In addition to the constant risk of ASF virus (ASFV) spread through human activities, movements of infected wild boar also represent a route of introduction. Since ASF emerged in Western Poland in November 2019, surveillance efforts, in particular examination of wild boar found dead, were intensified in the regions of Germany bordering with Poland. The first case of ASF in wild boar in Germany was therefore detected by passive surveillance and confirmed on 10 September 2020. By 24 September 2020, 32 cases were recorded. Testing of samples from tissues of carcasses in different stages of decomposition yielded cycle threshold values from 18 to 36 in the OIE-recommended PCR, which were comparable between the regional and national reference laboratory. Blood swabs yielded reliable results, indicating that the method is suitable also under outbreak conditions. Phylogenetic analysis of the ASFV whole-genome sequence generated from material of the first carcass detected in Germany, revealed that it groups with ASFV genotype II including all sequences from Eastern Europe, Asia and Belgium. However, some genetic markers including a 14 bp tandem repeat duplication in the O174L gene were confirmed that have so far been detected only in sequences from Poland (including Western Poland). Epidemiological investigations that include estimated postmortem intervals of wild boar carcasses of infected animals suggest that ASFV had been introduced into Germany in the first half of July 2020 or even earlier.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.13890DOI Listing
July 2021

The Epidemiology of African Swine Fever, Its Complexity and the Requirement for Multiple Solution Approaches.

Animals (Basel) 2020 Oct 16;10(10). Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.

Searching for the term "African swine fever" (ASF) in the title of publications in the Web of Science, PubMed and Scopus during the period of 1955-2020 resulted in an average of 2009 detected articles [...].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani10101900DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7603031PMC
October 2020

African swine fever in the Lithuanian wild boar population in 2018: a snapshot.

Virol J 2020 10 7;17(1):148. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

Immunology Laboratory, Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Tilzes Str. 18, Kaunas, Lithuania.

The first cases of African swine fever (ASF) were detected in the Lithuanian wild boar population in 2014. Since then, the disease spread slowly through the whole country, affecting both, wild boar and domestic pigs. In the other Baltic states, which both are also affected by ASF since 2014, the recent course of ASF prevalence suggests that the countries might be well under way of disease elimination. In contrast, in Lithuania the epidemic seems to be still in full progress. In the present study, we aimed to extend a previous prevalence study in Lithuania. Looking at ASF virus (ASFV) and seroprevalence estimates of wild boar in all months of 2018 and in all affected municipalities in Lithuania, the course of ASF was evaluated on a temporal and spatial scale. A non-spatial beta-binomial model was used to correct for under- or overestimation of the average prevalence estimates. Within 2018 no big differences between the prevalence estimates were seen over time. Despite of the lower sample size, highest ASFV prevalence estimates were found in dead wild boar, suggesting higher detection rates through passive surveillance than through active surveillance. Accordingly, with the maximum prevalence of 87.5% in May 2018, the ASFV prevalence estimates were very high in wild boar found dead. The number of samples originating from hunted animals (active surveillance) predominated clearly. However, the ASFV prevalence in those animals was lower with a maximum value of 2.1%, emphasizing the high value of passive surveillance. A slight increase of the seroprevalence in hunted wild boar could be seen over time. In the center of Lithuania, a cluster of municipalities with high ASFV and seroprevalence estimates was found. The results of the study indicate that ASFV is still circulating within the Lithuanian wild boar population, constituting a permanent risk of disease transmission into domestic pig holdings. However, additional, more recent data analyses are necessary to re-evaluate the course of ASF in Lithuania and thus, to be able to make a statement about the stage of the ASF epidemic in the country. This is of huge importance for Lithuania for evaluating control measures and their efficacy, but also for neighbouring countries to assess the risk of disease spread from Lithuania.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12985-020-01422-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7542886PMC
October 2020

Hunters' Acceptance of Measures against African Swine Fever in Wild Boar in Estonia.

Prev Vet Med 2020 Sep 11;182:105121. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Südufer 10, 17493, Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany. Electronic address:

African swine fever (ASF) was first identified in Estonia in 2014, initially detected in wild boar and spreading to affect almost the whole country from late 2016 onwards. Passive surveillance and the control measures applied in Estonia are the main actions in the attempt to control the wild boar population and therefore limit the spread of ASF. Implementation and success of both activities depend mainly on the involvement and commitment of the executing force: the Estonian hunters. Thus, their acceptance of the measures is of utmost importance and with the help of participatory methods, their acceptability can be assessed. Participatory epidemiology allows the involvement of key stakeholders in planning control measures and surveillance strategies and gathering information otherwise inaccessible. By conducting focus group discussions and utilizing participatory tools, this study aimed to assess the acceptance of ASF control measures by hunters in Estonia. Furthermore, the study aimed to detect means to improve the motivation of hunters to support passive surveillance. Among hunters, the results ranked the trust in lower authorities (e.g. local official veterinarians) towards implementing control measures as high (in contrast to higher officials e.g. 'Ministry of Rural Affairs'), while perceiving themselves as the most trustworthy group among those implementing ASF control measures. Hunting and every measure supporting increased hunting, for example selective hunting, bait feeding and incentives for hunting wild boar, were deemed favourable for hunters. These measures also received the highest trust for controlling ASF. All measures hindering hunting and the movement of wildlife, for example fencing or involvement of the army in ASF control, were described as unpleasant or even unethical and trust in these measures to control the disease successfully was lacking. When assessing the perceived consequences for hunters of finding a dead wild boar, arising financial costs, additional workload and time consumption were highlighted. In line with these results, the two tools with the strongest motivational effect for taking part in passive surveillance were: (1) higher monetary incentives as compensation for the hunters' work, and (2) the reduction of the negative consequences by limiting the hunters' duties to solely reporting found dead wild boar. In conclusion, participatory methods can be used as a highly suitable tool for the evaluation of acceptance of measures and surveillance systems. Potentially, the results can help to improve control and passive surveillance in Estonia, as well as functioning as an example for other countries battling or awaiting ASF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105121DOI Listing
September 2020

Reproducibility of Non-Invasive Endothelial Cell Loss Assessment of the Pre-Stripped DMEK Roll After Preparation and Storage.

Am J Ophthalmol 2021 01 11;221:17-26. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

Department of Ophthalmology, Saarland University Medical Center, Homburg, Germany.

Purpose: To present a novel, reproducible, and noninvasive method to quantify endothelial cell loss (ECL) of pre-stripped endothelial Descemet membrane lamellae (EDML) caused by its preparation and storage for 5 days.

Design: Prospective laboratory investigation.

Methods: Thirty EDML were stripped from corneoscleral discs and placed in a well plate containing organ culture medium 1 without dextran. An additional 5 corneoscleral discs were also placed in the same medium and served as a control group. Endothelial cell density (ECD) was measured without any additional manipulation by using spectral microscopy following an extensive protocol by which 3 clear images from the center and periphery were used for each measurement, and each measurement was repeated 5 times. ECD was measured before and directly after preparation and on days 1, 2, and 5 of storage.

Results: The average ECD of the 30 corneoscleral discs, which later underwent stripping, was 2,292 ± 308 cells/mm vs 2,129 ± 222 cells/mm for the 5 corneoscleral discs of the control group. The ECL of the control group was significantly lower than that of the EDML group (P < .0001), reaching ±2% versus 11 ± 5%, respectively, on day 0; 3% ± 4% versus 19 ± 10%, respectively, on day 1; 2% ± 2% versus 22% ± 11%, respectively on day 2; and 4% ± 3% versus 23% ± 9%, respectively, on day 5. Reproducibility of the results on all measurement days was good, with Cronbach alpha values ranging from 0.85 to 0.98.

Conclusions: A highly reproducible, noninvasive method was presented for measuring the ECD of the EDML. Prestripped EDML lose a significant amount of cells, up to 11%, due to the preparation process and up to 23% after 5 days of storage. Therefore, shipping them after several days of storage to be used in a DMEK surgery cannot be recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajo.2020.08.001DOI Listing
January 2021

How to Demonstrate Freedom from African Swine Fever in Wild Boar-Estonia as an Example.

Vaccines (Basel) 2020 Jun 25;8(2). Epub 2020 Jun 25.

Institute of Epidemiology, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Südufer 10, 17493 Greifswald, Insel Riems, Germany.

Estonia has been combatting African swine fever (ASF) for six years now. Since October 2017, the disease has only been detected in the wild boar population, but trade restrictions had to remain in place due to international regulations. Yet, the epidemiological course of the disease has changed within the last few years. The prevalence of ASF virus (ASFV)-positive wild boar decreased steadily towards 0%. In February 2019, the last ASFV-positive wild boar was detected. Since then, positive wild boar samples have exclusively been positive for ASFV-specific antibodies, suggesting the possible absence of circulating ASFV in the Estonian wild boar population. However, as the role of seropositive animals is controversially discussed and the presence of antibody-carriers is regarded as an indication of virus circulation at EU and OIE level, Estonia remains under trade restrictions. To make the disease status of a country reliable for trading partners and to facilitate the process of declaration of disease freedom, we suggest to monitor the prevalence of seropositive wild boar in absence of ASFV-positive animals. The possibility to include ASF in the list of diseases, for which an official pathway for recognition of disease status is defined by the OIE should be evaluated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8020336DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7350251PMC
June 2020

"Can we agree on that"? Plurality, power and language in participatory research.

Prev Vet Med 2020 Jul 8;180:104991. Epub 2020 May 8.

Department of Disease Control and Epidemiology, National Veterinary Institute, SVA, 751 89, Uppsala, Sweden. Electronic address:

Participatory epidemiology (PE) is a method that gathers data from groups through focus group interviews and participatory visual and scoring exercises. The method is often used in poor communities in low-income countries where it is hard to obtain conventional epidemiological data. This paper draws on research on the public sphere and democratic deliberation, along with research on language and interpretation, to suggest how PE research could be better equipped to account for diversity in local knowledge, include minority views and acknowledge power dynamics. These aspects are discussed under the three themes of 'plurality', 'power' and 'language'. A review of highly-cited PE literature suggests that PE research engages with plurality and power to a very limited extent, and only marginally more so with language and translation. Examples are taken from the authors' own PE research on African swine fever in -Uganda, classical swine fever in Germany, peste des petits ruminants (PPR) in Eastern Europe, and Ugandan pastoralists' understanding of cattle disease to provide more detail as to why conventional PE studies might fail to record issues of plurality, power and language, and also to suggest how this can be addressed. With reference to the literature on the public sphere and democratic deliberation, and on language and interpretation, this paper concludes with some suggestions as to how to take plurality, power and language into greater consideration in PE studies in future, thus improving the validity and reliability of PE data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.104991DOI Listing
July 2020

African swine fever in Latvian wild boar-A step closer to elimination.

Transbound Emerg Dis 2020 Nov 31;67(6):2615-2629. Epub 2020 May 31.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany.

In 2014, African swine fever (ASF) emerged in Latvia for the first time. The majority of cases appeared in wild boar, but the presence of ASF in these animals constitutes a permanent threat to domestic pig holdings. Recent studies have shown an increase in serologically positive and a decrease in PCR-positive ASF cases in wild boar, possibly indicating a decline of ASF incidence. We aimed to investigate the course of the ASF epidemic in wild boar in Latvia, thus attaining further insights into the ASF epidemiology in this country with the goal of assessing the stage of the epidemic. Latvian ASF surveillance data of wild boar were utilized to estimate the seroprevalence and ASF virus (ASFV) prevalence in the wild boar population. Prevalence estimates were obtained for both the eastern and western part of the country and in addition for the 2014/2015 to 2018/2019 hunting seasons. Moreover, prevalence estimates for three different age classes were calculated. An increase in serologically positive yet PCR-negative wild boar samples from active surveillance was identified over time. When comparing the age groups, wild boar younger than one year displayed the ASFV prevalence to be higher than the seroprevalence, whereas older animals shared higher seroprevalence estimates. These findings support the assumption that only a small proportion of affected animals survive an infection, leading to an accumulation of their numbers over time. As a result, ASF elimination in a country with an infected wild boar population could possibly be achieved, if effective wild boar population management and surveillance is maintained and combined with the detection and removal of wild boar carcasses to reduce the viral load in the environment. In addition, the wild boar population should be kept as small as possible to break the ASFV infection cycle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.13611DOI Listing
November 2020

To sample or not to sample? Detection of African swine fever in wild boar killed in road traffic accidents.

Transbound Emerg Dis 2020 Apr 6. Epub 2020 Apr 6.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany.

African swine fever (ASF) in wild boar remains a threat for the global pig industry. Therefore, surveillance is of utmost importance, not only to control the disease but also to detect new introductions as early as possible. Passive surveillance is regarded as the method of choice for an effective detection of ASF in wild boar populations. However, the relevance of wild boar killed through road traffic accidents (RTA) for passive surveillance seems to be unclear. Using comprehensive ASF wild boar surveillance data from Estonia and Latvia, the prevalence of ASF-infected wild boar was calculated and the probability of infection as measured by PCR compared for animals that were hunted, found dead, shot sick or killed in a RTA. The number of samples originating from wild boar killed in a RTA was low and so was the ASF prevalence in these animals. However, the reasons for this low number of RTA animals remain unknown. Therefore, we recommend to sample wild boar killed in a RTA to a greater extent, also to explore, if this approach can increase the detection probability, and to avoid missing disease introduction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.13560DOI Listing
April 2020

African Swine Fever: Fast and Furious or Slow and Steady?

Viruses 2019 09 17;11(9). Epub 2019 Sep 17.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Südufer 10, 17493 Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany.

Since the introduction of African swine fever (ASF) into Georgia in 2007, the disease has been spreading in an unprecedented way. Many countries that are still free from the disease fear the emergence of ASF in their territory either in domestic pigs or in wild boar. In the past, ASF was often described as being a highly contagious disease with mortality often up to 100%. However, the belief that the disease might enter a naïve population and rapidly affect the entire susceptible population needs to be critically reviewed. The current ASF epidemic in wild boar, but also the course of ASF within outbreaks in domestic pig holdings, suggest a constant, but relatively slow spread. Moreover, the results of several experimental and field studies support the impression that the spread of ASF is not always fast. ASF spread and its speed depend on various factors concerning the host, the virus, and also the environment. Many of these factors and their effects are not fully understood. For this review, we collated published information regarding the spreading speed of ASF and the factors that are deemed to influence the speed of ASF spread and tried to clarify some issues and open questions in this respect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v11090866DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6783890PMC
September 2019

Analysis of Estonian surveillance in wild boar suggests a decline in the incidence of African swine fever.

Sci Rep 2019 06 11;9(1):8490. Epub 2019 Jun 11.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Südufer 10, 17493, Greifswald, Insel Riems, Germany.

African swine fever (ASF) in wild boar populations is difficult to control. In affected areas, samples from all wild boar shot and found dead are investigated. The use of laboratory tests allows estimating the duration of the infection in affected animals. The study aimed to test the hypothesis that the stage of the epidemic in different areas of Estonia can be assessed on the basis of prevalence estimates. ASF surveillance data of Estonian wild boar were used to estimate prevalences and compare them between the East and West of Estonia. The temporal trend of the estimated prevalence of ASF virus positive animals and of the estimated seroprevalence of wild boar showing antibodies against ASFV was analyzed. Due to the potential influence of population density on the course of ASF in wild boar, also population density data (number of wild boar/km) were used to investigate the relationship with laboratory test results. In areas, where the epidemic had already lasted for a long time, a small number of new cases emerged recently. The prevalence of samples that were only seropositive was significantly higher in these regions as compared to areas, where the epidemic is in full progress. The observed course of the disease could be the beginning of an ASF endemicity in this region. However, the results may also indicate that ASF has started to subside in the areas that were first affected in Estonia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-44890-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6560063PMC
June 2019

Epidemiological evaluation of Latvian control measures for African swine fever in wild boar on the basis of surveillance data.

Sci Rep 2019 03 12;9(1):4189. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Südufer 10, 17493, Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany.

A wild boar population infected with African Swine Fever (ASF) constitutes a constant threat to commercial pig farms and therefore to the economy of the affected country. Currently, ASF is still spreading in several countries and the implementation of intensive measures such as reducing wild boar population densities seems not to be able to stop the further spread of the disease. In addition, there are still substantial knowledge gaps regarding the epidemiology of the disease. To identify risk factors for a higher probability of a wild boar sample being virological or serological positive, comprehensive statistical analyses were performed based on Latvian surveillance data. Using a multivariable Bayesian regression model, the effects of implemented control measures on the proportion of hunted or found dead wild boar or on the estimated virus prevalence were evaluated. None of the control measures applied in Latvia showed a significant effect on the relevant target figure. Also, the estimated periodic prevalence of wild boar that had tested ASF positive by PCR appeared to remain unaffected over time. Therefore, there is an urgent need to reconsider the implemented control measures. The results of this study and the course of ASF in other affected countries, raise the question, whether an endemic situation of ASF in wild boar is reversible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-40962-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6414528PMC
March 2019

Epidemiological analysis of the 2015-2017 African swine fever outbreaks in Estonia.

Prev Vet Med 2020 Aug 9;181:104556. Epub 2018 Oct 9.

Estonian University of Life Science, Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 62, 51014 Tartu, Estonia. Electronic address:

African swine fever (ASF) was first detected in the Estonian wild boar population in September 2014, while the first domestic pig farm was affected in July 2015. In the present study, we aimed to analyse, retrospectively, the epidemiology of the disease in all 26 outbreaks in domestic pig herds that occurred in Estonia during the period 2015-2017. Formal interviews were conducted to estimate the high-risk period for every farm, and to identify the possible origin of the ASF virus and the mode of virus introduction. Furthermore, the clinical manifestation of the disease as well as the course of the disease within the farm were investigated. Survival analysis was used to calculate herd incidence and to estimate outbreak risk. A hierarchical Bayesian space-time model was used to analyse the associations between outbreaks and ASF occurrence in wild boar. The spatial and temporal distribution of outbreaks was analysed to characterise the ASF epidemic in the Estonian domestic pig population from 2015 to 2017. The estimated high-risk period varied from seven to 20 days with a median of 11 days. On most of the affected farms, the first clinical signs were mild and not specific to ASF despite the high virulence of the circulating virus. Morbidity and mortality were often limited to a single pen or unit of the farm. The highest mortality (29.7%) was seen on backyard farms with 1-10 pigs and the lowest (0.7%) on large commercial farms (>1000 pigs). The spread of the virus within affected farms has been slow and the contagiousness of the virus has been relatively low. Farms of all sizes and types have been at risk, including large commercial farms operating at a high biosecurity level. In none of the affected farms could the specific route of introduction be verified. However, the findings suggested that virus introduction occurred via indirect transmission routes due to insufficient biosecurity. The total herd incidence of outbreaks was similar across all three years, being 2.4% in 2015 and 2016, and 2.0% in 2017. All outbreaks occurred from June to September, during the warmest period of the year. The results suggest that the increase in ASF cases in local wild boar populations is the main risk factor leading to the infection of farms; 88% of outbreaks occurred in areas where ASF virus was detected in wild boar prior to the outbreak, within a radius of 15 km from the outbreak farm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2018.10.001DOI Listing
August 2020

African and classical swine fever: similarities, differences and epidemiological consequences.

Vet Res 2017 11 28;48(1):84. Epub 2017 Nov 28.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Diagnostic Virology, Südufer 10, 17493, Greifswald, Insel Riems, Germany.

For the global pig industry, classical (CSF) and African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks are a constantly feared threat. Except for Sardinia, ASF was eradicated in Europe in the late 1990s, which led to a research focus on CSF because this disease continued to be present. However, ASF remerged in eastern Europe in 2007 and the interest in the disease, its control and epidemiology increased tremendously. The similar names and the same susceptible species suggest a similarity of the two viral diseases, a related biological behaviour and, correspondingly, similar epidemiological features. However, there are several essential differences between both diseases, which need to be considered for the design of control or preventive measures. In the present review, we aimed to collate differences and similarities of the two diseases that impact epidemiology and thus the necessary control actions. Our objective was to discuss critically, if and to which extent the current knowledge can be transferred from one disease to the other and where new findings should lead to a critical review of measures relating to the prevention, control and surveillance of ASF and CSF. Another intention was to identify research gaps, which need to be closed to increase the chances of a successful eradication of ASF and therefore for a decrease of the economic threat for pig holdings and the international trade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13567-017-0490-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5706370PMC
November 2017

Lessons learned from a case of tert-butyl glucuronide excretion in urine - "New" psychoactive alcohols knocking on the back door?

Forensic Sci Int 2017 Dec 18;281:9-12. Epub 2017 Oct 18.

Bioscientia Institut für Medizinische Diagnostik GmbH, Konrad-Adenauer-Straße 17, D-55218 Ingelheim, Germany.

Background: Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) in urine is considered a marker of recent ethanol consumption or ethanol exposition. tert-Butanol is primarily used as a solvent and intermediate chemical. Like tert-amyl alcohol, tert-butanol is discussed in Internet forums as ethanol replacement. We discuss false-positive immunological EtG screenings by excretion of different alcohol glucuronides (EtG homologs), mainly tert-butyl glucuronide in urine of a polytoxikomanic in-patient.

Methods: Three consecutive urine samples from an in-patient with a long history of multiple substance abuse including solvents were analyzed by DRI EtG enzyme immunoassay (ThermoFisher Scientific Microgenics) on a Beckman Coulter AU680 analyzer, an in-house LC-MS/MS for EtG, 1-propyl, 2-propyl, 1-butyl, 2-butyl, and tert-butyl glucuronide, and an in-house headspace GC-FID of free congener substances methanol, 1-propanol, 2-butanone, 2-butanol, isobutanol, 1-butanol, 3-methyl-1-butanol, 2-methyl-1-butanol, and additionally for ethanol, acetone, 2-propanol, tert-butanol and 2-methyl-2-butanol.

Results: EtG immunoassay yielded two positive urine samples (0.2 and 0.6mg/L or 0.1 and 0.2mg/g creatinine; cut-off 0.1mg/L) which were tested EtG negative by LC-MS/MS (cut-off 0.1mg/L) but positive for tert-butyl glucuronide (3.7 and 27.1mg/L), 2-butyl glucuronide (1.1 and 3.5mg/L), and 2-propyl glucuronide (0.1 and 0.4mg/L). Headspace GC-FID detected tert-butanol (0.97 and 4.01mg/L), methanol (0.96 and 0.62mg/L), 2-butanone (0.84 and 1.65mg/L), and 2-butanol (0.04 and 0.09mg/L), but no ethanol and no 2-methyl-2-butanol.

Conclusion: Cross-reaction of EtG homologs, mainly tert-butyl glucuronide after suspected tert-butanol or isobutane abuse, explains the false-positive EtG immunoassay findings. Future investigations could address the usefulness of alcohol glucuronides (EtG homologs) in urine as (a) biomarkers of an exposition to alkans or their corresponding alcohol metabolites and (b) as markers for using "old"-well known alcohols like tert-butanol or tert-amyl alcohol as easy to obtain, cheap, potent and "undetectable" ethanol replacements or "New" Psychoactive Alcohols.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2017.10.021DOI Listing
December 2017

Development of African swine fever epidemic among wild boar in Estonia - two different areas in the epidemiological focus.

Sci Rep 2017 10 2;7(1):12562. Epub 2017 Oct 2.

Estonian University of Life Science, Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 62, 51014, Tartu, Estonia.

African swine fever (ASF) in wild boar emerged in Estonia for the first time in September 2014. The first affected region was located in the South of Estonia close to the border with Latvia. It was considered to be epidemiologically connected to the outbreaks in the North of Latvia. About two weeks later, cases were detected in the North of Estonia, close to the Russian border. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the epidemiological courses of the disease in the South and in the North of Estonia. Potential associations between risk factors and the laboratory test results for ASF were examined. A hierarchical Bayesian space-time model was used to analyze the temporal trend of the ASF seroprevalence in the two areas. Young wild boar were statistically significant more likely to be ASF-positive by both, serology and virus detection, than older animals. A statistically significant difference between the two areas in the temporal course of the seroprevalence was found. While the seroprevalence clearly increased in the South, it remained relatively constant in the North. These findings led to the hypothesis that ASF might have been introduced earlier into the North of Estonia then into the South of the country.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-12952-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5624900PMC
October 2017

Surveillance strategies for Classical Swine Fever in wild boar - a comprehensive evaluation study to ensure powerful surveillance.

Sci Rep 2017 03 7;7:43871. Epub 2017 Mar 7.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Südufer 10, 17493 Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany.

Surveillance of Classical Swine Fever (CSF) should not only focus on livestock, but must also include wild boar. To prevent disease transmission into commercial pig herds, it is therefore vital to have knowledge about the disease status in wild boar. In the present study, we performed a comprehensive evaluation of alternative surveillance strategies for Classical Swine Fever (CSF) in wild boar and compared them with the currently implemented conventional approach. The evaluation protocol was designed using the EVA tool, a decision support tool to help in the development of an economic and epidemiological evaluation protocol for surveillance. To evaluate the effectiveness of the surveillance strategies, we investigated their sensitivity and timeliness. Acceptability was analysed and finally, the cost-effectiveness of the surveillance strategies was determined. We developed 69 surveillance strategies for comparative evaluation between the existing approach and the novel proposed strategies. Sampling only within sub-adults resulted in a better acceptability and timeliness than the currently implemented strategy. Strategies that were completely based on passive surveillance performance did not achieve the desired detection probability of 95%. In conclusion, the results of the study suggest that risk-based approaches can be an option to design more effective CSF surveillance strategies in wild boar.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep43871DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5339697PMC
March 2017

Hunters' acceptability of the surveillance system and alternative surveillance strategies for classical swine fever in wild boar - a participatory approach.

BMC Vet Res 2016 Sep 6;12(1):187. Epub 2016 Sep 6.

Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Südufer 10, 17493, Greifswald, Insel Riems, Germany.

Background: Surveillance measures can only be effective if key players in the system accept them. Acceptability, which describes the willingness of persons to contribute, is often analyzed using participatory methods. Participatory epidemiology enables the active involvement of key players in the assessment of epidemiological issues. In the present study, we used a participatory method recently developed by CIRAD (Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement) to evaluate the functionality and acceptability of Classical Swine Fever (CSF) surveillance in wild boar in Germany, which is highly dependent on the participation of hunters. The acceptability of alternative surveillance strategies was also analyzed. By conducting focus group discussions, potential vulnerabilities in the system were detected and feasible alternative surveillance strategies identified.

Results: Trust in the current surveillance system is high, whereas the acceptability of the operation of the system is medium. Analysis of the acceptability of alternative surveillance strategies showed how risk-based surveillance approaches can be combined to develop strategies that have sufficient support and functionality. Furthermore, some surveillance strategies were clearly rejected by the hunters. Thus, the implementation of such strategies may be difficult.

Conclusions: Participatory methods can be used to evaluate the functionality and acceptability of existing surveillance plans for CSF among hunters and to optimize plans regarding their chances of successful implementation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12917-016-0822-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5012045PMC
September 2016

THE CHALLENGE OF DETECTING CLASSICAL SWINE FEVER VIRUS CIRCULATION IN WILD BOAR (SUS SCROFA): SIMULATION OF SAMPLING OPTIONS.

J Wildl Dis 2016 10 1;52(4):828-836. Epub 2016 Aug 1.

1   Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Institute of Epidemiology, Südufer 10, 17493 Greifswald - Insel Riems, Germany.

Classical swine fever (CSF) is one of the most important viral diseases of domestic pigs ( Sus scrofa domesticus) and wild boar ( Sus scrofa ). For at least 4 decades, several European Union member states were confronted with outbreaks among wild boar and, as it had been shown that infected wild boar populations can be a major cause of primary outbreaks in domestic pigs, strict control measures for both species were implemented. To guarantee early detection and to demonstrate freedom from disease, intensive surveillance is carried out based on a hunting bag sample. In this context, virologic investigations play a major role in the early detection of new introductions and in regions immunized with a conventional vaccine. The required financial resources and personnel for reliable testing are often large, and sufficient sample sizes to detect low virus prevalences are difficult to obtain. We conducted a simulation to model the possible impact of changes in sample size and sampling intervals on the probability of CSF virus detection based on a study area of 65 German hunting grounds. A 5-yr period with 4,652 virologic investigations was considered. Results suggest that low prevalences could not be detected with a justifiable effort. The simulation of increased sample sizes per sampling interval showed only a slightly better performance but would be unrealistic in practice, especially outside the main hunting season. Further studies on other approaches such as targeted or risk-based sampling for virus detection in connection with (marker) antibody surveillance are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7589/2015-09-240DOI Listing
October 2016

ENVIRONMENTS and EOL: identification of Environment Ontology terms in text and the annotation of the Encyclopedia of Life.

Bioinformatics 2015 Jun 24;31(11):1872-4. Epub 2015 Jan 24.

Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Heraklion, Crete, Greece, Disease Systems Biology Program, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany, Jacobs University gGmbH, School of Engineering and Sciences, Bremen, Germany, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA and National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA.

Unlabelled: The association of organisms to their environments is a key issue in exploring biodiversity patterns. This knowledge has traditionally been scattered, but textual descriptions of taxa and their habitats are now being consolidated in centralized resources. However, structured annotations are needed to facilitate large-scale analyses. Therefore, we developed ENVIRONMENTS, a fast dictionary-based tagger capable of identifying Environment Ontology (ENVO) terms in text. We evaluate the accuracy of the tagger on a new manually curated corpus of 600 Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) species pages. We use the tagger to associate taxa with environments by tagging EOL text content monthly, and integrate the results into the EOL to disseminate them to a broad audience of users.

Availability And Implementation: The software and the corpus are available under the open-source BSD and the CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 licenses, respectively, at http://environments.hcmr.gr.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btv045DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4443677PMC
June 2015

Finding our way through phenotypes.

PLoS Biol 2015 Jan 6;13(1):e1002033. Epub 2015 Jan 6.

Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.

Despite a large and multifaceted effort to understand the vast landscape of phenotypic data, their current form inhibits productive data analysis. The lack of a community-wide, consensus-based, human- and machine-interpretable language for describing phenotypes and their genomic and environmental contexts is perhaps the most pressing scientific bottleneck to integration across many key fields in biology, including genomics, systems biology, development, medicine, evolution, ecology, and systematics. Here we survey the current phenomics landscape, including data resources and handling, and the progress that has been made to accurately capture relevant data descriptions for phenotypes. We present an example of the kind of integration across domains that computable phenotypes would enable, and we call upon the broader biology community, publishers, and relevant funding agencies to support efforts to surmount today's data barriers and facilitate analytical reproducibility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002033DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4285398PMC
January 2015

The Encyclopedia of Life v2: Providing Global Access to Knowledge About Life on Earth.

Biodivers Data J 2014 29(2):e1079. Epub 2014 Apr 29.

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, United States of America.

The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL, http://eol.org) aims to provide unprecedented global access to a broad range of information about life on Earth. It currently contains 3.5 million distinct pages for taxa and provides content for 1.3 million of those pages. The content is primarily contributed by EOL content partners (providers) that have a more limited geographic, taxonomic or topical scope. EOL aggregates these data and automatically integrates them based on associated scientific names and other classification information. EOL also provides interfaces for curation and direct content addition. All materials in EOL are either in the public domain or licensed under a Creative Commons license. In addition to the web interface, EOL is also accessible through an Application Programming Interface. In this paper, we review recent developments added for Version 2 of the web site and subsequent releases through Version 2.2, which have made EOL more engaging, personal, accessible and internationalizable. We outline the core features and technical architecture of the system. We summarize milestones achieved so far by EOL to present results of the current system implementation and establish benchmarks upon which to judge future improvements. We have shown that it is possible to successfully integrate large amounts of descriptive biodiversity data from diverse sources into a robust, standards-based, dynamic, and scalable infrastructure. Increasing global participation and the emergence of EOL-powered applications demonstrate that EOL is becoming a significant resource for anyone interested in biological diversity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.2.e1079DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4031434PMC
June 2014

Another case of diethyl ether intoxication?: a case report focusing on toxicological analysis.

Leg Med (Tokyo) 2011 Sep 31;13(5):254-8. Epub 2011 Jul 31.

Institute of Forensic Medicine, Paris Lodron University Salzburg, Austria.

Diethyl ether was widely used as an anesthetic agent in many countries in the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. For this reason the majority of lethal cases involving diethyl ether reported during this period were associated with anesthesia. We present a case of asphyxial death by plastic-bag suffocation with additional detection of diethyl ether in autopsy specimens. Autopsy initially failed to reveal the cause of death. Macroscopic and microscopic findings as well as subsequent toxicological examination procedures and results are pointed out in the present case report. Headspace gas chromatography with flame ionization detection (HS-GC-FID) coupled with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS) proved to be the method of choice for fast and reliable analysis of unknown highly volatile substances (other than blood alcohol). In this case the detection of diethyl ether in autopsy specimens led to further investigations by the police at the death scene. During these investigations a bottle bearing a diethyl ether label was found and confiscated, which proved the insufficiency of prior death scene investigation. In order to evaluate the case from every possible angle, in such cases, especially when plastic-bag suffocation is suspected, we strongly recommend the collection of postmortem specimens in gas-tight vessels as well as the presence of a forensic expert at the death scene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.legalmed.2011.05.008DOI Listing
September 2011
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