Publications by authors named "Vanessa R Barrs"

87 Publications

Complete clinical response to combined antifungal therapy in two cats with invasive fungal rhinosinusitis caused by cryptic species in section .

Med Mycol Case Rep 2021 Dec 2;34:13-17. Epub 2021 Sep 2.

University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia.

Cryptic species in section are increasingly reported to cause invasive aspergillosis in humans and animals. These infections are often refractory to treatment because of intrinsic antifungal resistance. We report two cases of invasive fungal rhinosinusitis in domestic cats caused by and . Clinical signs resolved after combined therapy including posaconazole, caspofungin and terbinafine. Both cases remained asymptomatic more than 2 years from initial presentation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mmcr.2021.08.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8437771PMC
December 2021

Corrigendum to 'Rhinitis due to in an orange-winged Amazon parrot ()'[Med. Mycol. Case Rep. 30 (2020) 46-50].

Med Mycol Case Rep 2021 Sep 8;33:38. Epub 2021 Jul 8.

Laboratoire de santé publique du Québec (LSPQ), Institut national de santé publique du Québec, 20045 chemin Sainte-Marie, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC, H9X 3R5, Canada.

[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1016/j.mmcr.2020.11.001.].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mmcr.2021.06.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8385237PMC
September 2021

Disseminated invasive aspergillosis caused by Aspergillus felis in a cat.

J Vet Intern Med 2021 Aug 20. Epub 2021 Aug 20.

Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, SAR China.

A 2-year-old male desexed Ragdoll cat with a 1-year history of sneezing and nasal discharge presented with a large subcutaneous cervical mass, identified as the right medial retropharyngeal lymph node on computed tomography (CT). A right orbital mass, destructive sino-nasal cavity disease and multiple pulmonary nodules were also identified. Aspergillus felis was cultured from the lymph node. After treatment with posaconazole and liposomal amphotericin B the lymph node enlargement and orbital mass resolved but left frontal sinus involvement and pulmonary lesions persisted despite additional caspofungin therapy. The cat was euthanized 14 months after diagnosis with dysphagia and chronic progressive exophthalmos. A meningeal granuloma with intravascular fungal hyphae was identified at post-mortem and A felis was cultured from the left frontal sinus and a right retrobulbar fungal granuloma. This case demonstrates that disseminated disease is a possible sequel to invasive fungal rhinosinusitis caused by A felis in cats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvim.16245DOI Listing
August 2021

Canine parvovirus is shed infrequently by cats without diarrhoea in multi-cat environments.

Vet Microbiol 2021 Oct 10;261:109204. Epub 2021 Aug 10.

Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, The University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia; Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine & Life Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. Electronic address:

Whether subclinical shedding of canine parvovirus (CPV) by cats might contribute to the epidemiology of canine CPV infections, particularly in facilities housing both cats and dogs, requires clarification. Conflicting results are reported to date. Using conventional PCR (cPCR) to amplify the VP2 gene, shedding of the CPV variants (CPV-2a, 2b, 2c) by healthy cats in multi-cat environments was reportedly common in Europe but rare in Australia. The aim of this study was to determine whether low-level faecal CPV shedding occurs in multi-cat environments in Australia and Italy using a TaqMan real-time PCR to detect Carnivore protoparvovirus 1 (CPV and feline parvovirus, FPV) DNA, and minor-groove binder probe real-time PCR assay to differentiate FPV and CPV types and to characterize CPV variants. In total, 741 non-diarrhoeic faecal samples from shelters in Australia (n = 263) and from shelters or cat colonies in Italy (n = 478) were tested. Overall, Carnivore protoparvovirus 1 DNA was detected in 49 of 741 (6.61 %) samples. Differentiation was possible for 31 positive samples. FPV was most common among positive samples (28/31, 90.3 %). CPV was detected in 4/31 samples (12.9 %) including CPV-2a in one sample, CPV-2b in another and co-infections of FPV/CPV-2b and CPV-2a/CPV-2b in the remaining two samples. A high rate of subclinical FPV infection was detected in one shelter during an outbreak of feline panleukopenia, during which 21 of 22 asymptomatic cats (95.5 %) sampled were shedding FPV. Faecal shedding of CPV by cats in multi-cat environments is uncommon suggesting that domestic cats are not significant reservoirs of CPV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2021.109204DOI Listing
October 2021

Dysbiosis of the Urinary Bladder Microbiome in Cats with Chronic Kidney Disease.

mSystems 2021 Aug 27;6(4):e0051021. Epub 2021 Jul 27.

Centre for Companion Animal Health, Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences, City University of Hong Konggrid.35030.35, Hong Kong SAR.

Although feline urinary tract diseases cause high morbidity and mortality rates, and subclinical bacteriuria is not uncommon, the feline urinary microbiome has not been characterized. We conducted a case-control study to identify the feline urinary bladder microbiome and assess its association with chronic kidney disease (CKD), feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), and positive urine cultures (PUCs). Of 108 feline urine samples subjected to 16S rRNA gene sequencing, 48 (44.4%) samples reached the 500-sequence rarefaction threshold and were selected for further analysis, suggesting that the feline bladder microbiome is typically sparse. Selected samples included 17 CKD, 9 FIC, 8 PUC cases and 14 controls. Among these, 19 phyla, 145 families, and 218 genera were identified. were the most abundant, followed by . Notably, four major urotypes were identified, including two urotypes predominated by Escherichia or and two others characterized by relatively high alpha diversity, Diverse 1 and Diverse 2. Urotype was associated with disease status ( value of 0.040), with the Escherichia-predominant urotype being present in 53% of CKD cases and in all of the Escherichia coli PUC cases. Reflecting these patterns, the overall microbial composition of CKD cases was more similar to that of E. coli PUC cases than to that of controls ( value of <0.001). Finally, PUC cases had microbial compositions distinct from those of controls as well as CKD and FIC cases, with significantly lower Shannon diversity and Faith's phylogenetic diversity values. Despite the clinical importance of urinary diseases in cats, the presence of resident urine microbes has not been demonstrated in cats, and the role of these microbes as a community in urinary health remains unknown. Here, we have shown that cats with and without urinary tract disease harbor unique microbial communities in their urine. We found no evidence to suggest that the bladder microbiome is implicated in the pathogenesis of feline idiopathic cystitis, a disease similar to bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis in humans. However, cats with chronic kidney disease had dysbiosis of their bladder microbiome, which was predominated by Escherichia and had a community structure similar to that of cats with Escherichia coli cystitis. These findings suggest that chronic kidney disease alters the bladder environment to favor Escherichia colonization, potentially increasing the risk of overt clinical infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mSystems.00510-21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8407359PMC
August 2021

Azole-resistant Aspergillus fumigatus is highly prevalent in the environment of Vietnam, with marked variability by land use type.

Environ Microbiol 2021 Jul 7. Epub 2021 Jul 7.

Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, 2145, Australia.

Azole-resistant environmental Aspergillus fumigatus presents a threat to public health but the extent of this threat in Southeast Asia is poorly described. We conducted environmental surveillance in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, collecting air and ground samples across key land-use types, and determined antifungal susceptibilities of Aspergillus section Fumigati (ASF) isolates and azole concentrations in soils. Of 119 ASF isolates, 55% were resistant (or non-wild type) to itraconazole, 65% to posaconazole and 50% to voriconazole. Azole resistance was more frequent in A. fumigatus sensu stricto isolates (95%) than other ASF species (32%). Resistant isolates and agricultural azole residues were overrepresented in samples from cultivated land. cyp51A gene sequence analysis showed 38/56 resistant A. fumigatus sensu stricto isolates carried known resistance mutations, with TR /L98H most frequent (34/38).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.15660DOI Listing
July 2021

A longitudinal observational study in two cats naturally-infected with hepadnavirus.

Vet Microbiol 2021 Mar 22;254:108999. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari, Valenzano, Italy. Electronic address:

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major cause of liver disease in humans including chronic hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Domestic cat hepadnavirus (DCH), a novel HBV-like hepadnavirus, was identified in domestic cats in 2018. From 6.5 %-10.8 % of pet cats are viremic for DCH and altered serological markers suggestive of liver damage have been identified in 50 % of DCH-infected cats. DCH DNA has been detected in association with characteristic lesions of chronic hepatitis and with hepatocellular carcinoma in cats, suggesting a possible association. In this study longitudinal molecular screening of cats infected with DCH was performed to determine if DCH can cause chronic infections in cats. Upon re-testing of sera from five DCH-positive animals, 2-10 months after the initial diagnosis, three cats tested negative for DCH on two consecutive occasions using quantitative PCR. Two other cats remained DCH-positive, including an 8-month-old female cat re-tested four months after the initial positive result, and a 9-year-old male cat, which tested positive for DCH on six occasions over an 11-month period. The latter had a history of chronic hepatopathy with jaundice, lethargy and elevated serum alanine transaminase levels (ALT). During the period of observation, DCH titers ranged between 1.64 × 10 and 2.09 × 10 DNA copies/mL and ALT was persistently elevated, suggesting chronic infection. DCH DNA was not detected in oral, conjunctival, preputial and rectal swabs from the two animals collected at several time points. Long-term (chronic) infection would be consistent with the relatively high number of viremic cats identified in epidemiological investigations, with the possible association of DCH with chronic hepatic pathologies and with what described with HBV in human patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2021.108999DOI Listing
March 2021

Interaction Identified as both a Challenge and a Benefit in a Rapid Switch to Online Teaching during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

J Vet Med Educ 2021 Jan 25:e20200063. Epub 2021 Jan 25.

The recent emergence and subsequent global spread of COVID-19 has forced a rapid shift to online and remote learning at veterinary schools. Students in a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine program were taught using a real-time online platform for one semester, with recorded synchronous lectures and tutorials, virtual laboratories, and clinical skills classes where possible. Students in all years of the program were surveyed twice, 8 weeks apart to assess their perceptions of online teaching and to identify challenges they experienced. Using a 10-point Likert scale, students agreed that they could achieve their learning outcomes using online learning with no more difficulty than with face-to-face teaching, allocating average scores of 7.6 and 8.2 at each time point. Students were overwhelmingly positive about the impact of online teaching on time-management of their learning due to the loss of travel time. They enjoyed aspects of teaching such as recorded lectures, online polls quizzes, and chat-boxes that allowed more student-focused learning. However, there were concerns about the reduction in face-to-face interactions including loss of classroom atmosphere and reduced interaction with peers. Students experienced technical problems in a median of 20% of lectures (range 10%-50%) at the first survey and 10% at the second (range 10%-50%). Increased use of strategies to optimize peer interactions is recommended to facilitate student learning using online platforms. Moving forward beyond the pandemic, allowing flexible time management and a shift toward student-centered learning using strategies such as flipped classrooms may be beneficial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/jvme-2020-0063DOI Listing
January 2021

Drug-Resistant Is Highly Prevalent in the Environment of Vietnam: A New Challenge for the Management of Aspergillosis?

J Fungi (Basel) 2020 Nov 18;6(4). Epub 2020 Nov 18.

Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, The University of Sydney, Sydney 2145, Australia.

The burden of aspergillosis, especially Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis, is increasingly recognized, and the increasing presence of azole-resistant environmental has been highlighted as a health risk. However, a sizable minority of aspergillosis is caused by , which is assumed to be sensitive to azoles but is infrequently included in surveillance. We conducted environmental sampling at 150 locations in a rural province of southern Vietnam. isolates were identified morphologically, their identity was confirmed by sequencing of the beta-tubulin gene, and then they were tested for susceptibility to azoles and amphotericin B according to EUCAST methodologies. We found that over 85% of isolates were resistant to at least one azole, and half of them were resistant to itraconazole. This unexpectedly high prevalence of resistance demands further investigation to determine whether it is linked to agricultural azole use, as has been described for . Clinical correlation is required, so that guidelines can be adjusted to take this information into account.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jof6040296DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7711995PMC
November 2020

Identification of Novel Astroviruses in the Gastrointestinal Tract of Domestic Cats.

Viruses 2020 11 12;12(11). Epub 2020 Nov 12.

School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

Astroviruses, isolated from numerous avian and mammalian species including humans, are commonly associated with enteritis and encephalitis. Two astroviruses have previously been identified in cats, and while definitive evidence is lacking, an association with enteritis is suggested. Using metagenomic next-generation sequencing of viral nucleic acids from faecal samples, we identified two novel feline astroviruses termed Feline astrovirus 3 and 4. These viruses were isolated from healthy shelter-housed kittens (Feline astrovirus 3; 6448 bp) and from a kitten with diarrhoea that was co-infected with Feline parvovirus (Feline astrovirus 4, 6549 bp). Both novel astroviruses shared a genome arrangement of three open reading frames (ORFs) comparable to that of other astroviruses. Phylogenetic analysis of the concatenated ORFs, ORF1a, ORF1b and capsid protein revealed that both viruses were phylogenetically distinct from other feline astroviruses, although their precise evolutionary history could not be accurately determined due to a lack of resolution at key nodes. Large-scale molecular surveillance studies of healthy and diseased cats are needed to determine the pathogenicity of feline astroviruses as single virus infections or in co-infections with other enteric viruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v12111301DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7697530PMC
November 2020

Evaluation of a SARS-CoV-2 Surrogate Virus Neutralization Test for Detection of Antibody in Human, Canine, Cat, and Hamster Sera.

J Clin Microbiol 2021 01 21;59(2). Epub 2021 Jan 21.

School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China

Surrogate neutralization assays for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that can be done without biosafety level 3 containment and in multiple species are desirable. We evaluate a recently developed surrogate virus neutralization test (sVNT) in comparison to 90% plaque reduction neutralization tests (PRNT) in human, canine, cat, and hamster sera. With PRNT as the reference, sVNT had sensitivity of 98.9% and specificity of 98.8%. Using a panel of immune sera corresponding to other coronaviruses, we confirm the lack of cross-reactivity to other coronaviruses in SARS-CoV-2 sVNT and PRNT, except for cross-reactivity to SARS-CoV-1 in sVNT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JCM.02504-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8111130PMC
January 2021

SARS-CoV-2 in Quarantined Domestic Cats from COVID-19 Households or Close Contacts, Hong Kong, China.

Emerg Infect Dis 2020 12 16;26(12):3071-3074. Epub 2020 Sep 16.

We tested 50 cats from coronavirus disease households or close contacts in Hong Kong, China, for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 RNA in respiratory and fecal samples. We found 6 cases of apparent human-to-feline transmission involving healthy cats. Virus genomes sequenced from 1 cat and its owner were identical.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2612.202786DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7706951PMC
December 2020

Analysis of canine parvoviruses circulating in Australia reveals predominance of variant 2b and identifies feline parvovirus-like mutations in the capsid proteins.

Transbound Emerg Dis 2021 Mar 29;68(2):656-666. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Faculty of Science, Sydney School of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia.

Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a major enteric pathogen of dogs worldwide that emerged in the late 1970s from a feline parvovirus (FPV)-like ancestral virus. Shortly after its emergence, variant CPVs acquired amino acid (aa) mutations in key capsid residues, associated with biological and/or antigenic changes. This study aimed to identify and analyse CPV variants and their capsid mutations amongst Australian dogs, to gain insights into the evolution of CPV in Australia and to investigate relationships between the disease and vaccination status of dogs from which viruses were detected. CPV VP2 sequences were amplified from 79 faecal samples collected from dogs with parvoviral enteritis at 20 veterinary practices in five Australian states. The median age at diagnosis was 4 months (range 1-96 months). Only 3.7% of dogs with vaccination histories had completed recommended vaccination schedules, while 49% were incompletely vaccinated and 47.2% were unvaccinated. For the first time, CPV-2b has emerged as the dominant antigenic CPV variant circulating in dogs with parvoviral enteritis in Australia, comprising 54.4% of viruses, while CPV-2a and CPV-2 comprised 43.1% and 2.5%, respectively. The antigenic variant CPV-2c was not identified. Analysis of translated VP2 sequences revealed a vast repertoire of amino acid (aa) mutations. Several Australian CPV strains displayed signatures in the VP2 protein typical of Asian CPVs, suggesting possible introduction of CPV strains from Asia, and/or CPV circulation between Asia and Australia. Canine parvoviruses were identified containing aa residues typical of FPV at key capsid (VP2) positions, representing reverse mutations or residual mutations retained from CPV-2 during adaptation from an FPV-like ancestor, suggesting that evolutionary intermediates between CPV-2 and FPV are circulating in the field. Similarly, intermediates between CPV-2a-like viruses and CPV-2 were also identified. These findings help inform a better understanding of the evolution of CPV in dogs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.13727DOI Listing
March 2021

Phylogenetic and Geospatial Evidence of Canine Parvovirus Transmission between Wild Dogs and Domestic Dogs at the Urban Fringe in Australia.

Viruses 2020 06 19;12(6). Epub 2020 Jun 19.

Sydney School of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

Canine parvovirus (CPV) is an important cause of disease in domestic dogs. Sporadic cases and outbreaks occur across Australia and worldwide and are associated with high morbidity and mortality. Whether transmission of CPV occurs between owned dogs and populations of wild dogs, including , and hybrids, is not known. To investigate the role of wild dogs in CPV epidemiology in Australia, PCR was used to detect CPV DNA in tissue from wild dogs culled in the peri-urban regions of two Australian states, between August 2012 and May 2015. CPV DNA was detected in 4.7% (8/170). There was a strong geospatial association between wild-dog CPV infections and domestic-dog CPV cases reported to a national disease surveillance system between 2009 and 2015. Postcodes in which wild dogs tested positive for CPV were 8.63 times more likely to also have domestic-dog cases reported than postcodes in which wild dogs tested negative ( = 0.0332). Phylogenetic analysis of CPV VP2 sequences from wild dogs showed they were all CPV-2a variants characterized by a novel amino acid mutation (21-Ala) recently identified in CPV isolates from owned dogs in Australia with parvoviral enteritis. Wild-dog CPV VP2 sequences were compared to those from owned domestic dogs in Australia. For one domestic-dog case located approximately 10 km from a wild-dog capture location, and reported 3.5 years after the nearest wild dog was sampled, the virus was demonstrated to have a closely related common ancestor. This study provides phylogenetic and geospatial evidence of CPV transmission between wild and domestic dogs in Australia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v12060663DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7354627PMC
June 2020

First case of feline cryptococcosis in Hong Kong, caused by .

Med Mycol Case Rep 2020 Sep 19;29:8-11. Epub 2020 May 19.

Department of Public Health & Infectious Diseases, Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, China.

A nine-year-old domestic short hair cat was presented for a nasal planum mass, nasal discharge, hyporexia and weight loss. On physical examination nasal proliferative and ulcerative lesions and submandibular lymphadenopathy were identified. Cytology, histopathology, fungal culture, antigen serology and MALDI-TOF confirmed cryptococcal rhinitis with regional mandibular lymph node involvement due to infection. This is the first reported case of cryptococcosis in a feline patient in Hong Kong.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mmcr.2020.04.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7251313PMC
September 2020

Identification of feline calicivirus in cats with enteritis.

Transbound Emerg Dis 2020 Nov 14;67(6):2579-2588. Epub 2020 May 14.

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Università degli Studi di Teramo, Teramo, Italy.

Feline calicivirus (FCV) is a major pathogen of cats associated with either respiratory disease or systemic disease, but its possible role as an enteric pathogen is neglected. Using RT-PCR, the RNA of FCV was identified in 25.9% (62/239) of stools of cats with enteritis and in 0/58 (0%) of cats without diarrhoea or other clinical signs. Isolates of enteric origin were obtained and a large 3.2-kb portion of the genome was sequenced, encompassing the 3' end of the RNA polymerase, the capsid protein precursor and the minor capsid protein. Also, the complete genome sequence of one such strain, the 160/2015/ITA, was determined. Upon sequence analysis, the enteric viruses were found to be genetically heterogeneous and to differ from each other and from isolates of respiratory origin. The enteric isolates were found to be more resistant to low pH conditions, to trypsin and to bile treatment than respiratory isolates. Overall, these findings are consistent with the hypothesis that some FCVs may acquire enteric tropism and eventually act as enteric pathogens. Whether this enteric tropism is maintained stably and whether it may affect, to some extent, the ability of the virus to trigger the classical and/or hypervirulent forms of disease should be assessed. Also, FCV should be included in the diagnostic algorithms of enteric diseases of cats to gain further information about FCV strains displaying enteric pathotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbed.13605DOI Listing
November 2020

Feline Parvovirus Seroprevalence Is High in Domestic Cats from Disease Outbreak and Non-Outbreak Regions in Australia.

Viruses 2020 03 16;12(3). Epub 2020 Mar 16.

Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia.

Multiple, epizootic outbreaks of feline panleukopenia (FPL) caused by feline parvovirus(FPV) occurred in eastern Australia between 2014 and 2018. Most affected cats were unvaccinated.We hypothesised that low population immunity was a major driver of re-emergent FPL. The aim ofthis study was to (i) determine the prevalence and predictors of seroprotective titres to FPV amongshelter-housed and owned cats, and (ii) compare the prevalence of seroprotection between a regionaffected and unaffected by FPL outbreaks. FPV antibodies were detected by haemagglutinationinhibition assay on sera from 523 cats and titres ≥1:40 were considered protective. Socioeconomicindices based on postcode and census data were included in the risk factor analysis. The prevalenceof protective FPV antibody titres was high overall (94.3%), even though only 42% of cats wereknown to be vaccinated, and was not significantly different between outbreak and non-outbreakregions. On multivariable logistic regression analysis vaccinated cats were 29.94 times more likelyto have protective FPV titres than cats not known to be vaccinated. Cats from postcodes of relativelyless socioeconomic disadvantage were 5.93 times more likely to have protective FPV titres. Thepredictors identified for FPV seroprotective titres indicate targeted vaccination strategies in regionsof socioeconomic disadvantage would be beneficial to increase population immunity. The criticallevel of vaccine coverage required to halt FPV transmission and prevent FPL outbreaks should bedetermined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v12030320DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7150783PMC
March 2020

Identification of A Novel Papillomavirus Associated with Squamous Cell Carcinoma in A Domestic Cat.

Viruses 2020 01 20;12(1). Epub 2020 Jan 20.

Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia.

Papillomaviruses infect the skin and mucosal surfaces of diverse animal hosts with consequences ranging from asymptomatic colonization to highly malignant epithelial cancers. Increasing evidence suggests a role for papillomaviruses in the most common cutaneous malignancy of domestic cats, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Using total DNA sequencing we identified a novel feline papillomavirus in a nasal biopsy taken from a cat presenting with both nasal cavity lymphoma and recurrent squamous cell carcinoma affecting the nasal planum. We designate this novel virus as Felis catus papillomavirus 6 (FcaPV6). The complete FcaPV6 7453 bp genome was similar to those of other feline papillomaviruses and phylogenetic analysis revealed that it was most closely related to FcaPV3, although was distinct enough to represent a new viral type. Classification of FcaPV6 in a new genus alongside FcaPVs 3, 4 and 5 is supported. Archived excisional biopsy of the SCC, taken 20 months prior to presentation, was intensely positive on p16 immunostaining. FcaPV6, amplified using virus-specific, but not consensus, PCR, was the only papillomavirus detected in DNA extracted from the SCC. Conversely, renal lymphoma, sampled at necropsy two months after presentation, tested negative on FcaPV6-specific PCR. In sum, using metagenomics we demonstrate the presence of a novel feline papillomavirus in association with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v12010124DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019393PMC
January 2020

Feline disseminated cutaneous phaeohyphomycosis due to .

Med Mycol Case Rep 2020 Mar 24;27:32-35. Epub 2019 Dec 24.

University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Camperdown, NSW, 2050, Australia.

A six-year-old domestic shorthair cat was presented for a subcutaneous digital nodular lesion on the right forelimb. On physical examination a similar lesion was identified on the right hindlimb. Disseminated cutaneous phaeohyphomycosis was diagnosed from histopathological changes in representative tissue biopsies and fungal culture. The isolate was identified by sequencing of ITS rDNA as This is the first report of disseminated cutaneous disease caused by in the cat.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mmcr.2019.12.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6938812PMC
March 2020

Seroprevalence and Risk Factors for Infection in Owned Domestic Cats in Australia.

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis 2020 04 30;20(4):275-280. Epub 2019 Dec 30.

Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia.

Ongoing surveillance of seroprevalence and exposure risks in owned cats is important to identify effective mechanisms to decrease the prevalence of this global zoonotic parasite. We aimed to determine the seroprevalence of and risk factors for seropositivity in owned domestic cats in Australia. Sera, signalment data, postcode, and completed owner-questionnaires surveying diet composition and lifestyle factors were collected for cats presenting to 18 veterinary clinics across Australia. -specific IgG was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Data were analyzed using univariable and multivariable logistic regression to evaluate risk factors associated with positive IgG serology. Among 417 cats, seroprevalence was 39%. More than two-thirds of cats tested (69%) had outdoor access and 59% were fed a diet containing raw meat. Univariable analyses identified, age (>1 year,  < 0.001), a diet containing any raw meat ( = 0.001), raw kangaroo ( = 0.008), raw chicken ( = 0.012), or raw beef ( = 0.017), and hunting ( = 0.049) as risk factors for infection. Age (>1 year, odds ratio [OR]: 7.15) and feeding of raw meat (OR: 2.23) remained significant risk factors ( < 0.001) in multivariable analyses. seroprevalence did not differ between cats domiciled in urban and semiurban or rural areas. Pet cats in Australia are commonly infected with . Feeding raw meat to cats, a common practice in Australia, is associated with infection, highlighting the need for education about the health implications for cats from feeding a diet containing raw meat.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2019.2520DOI Listing
April 2020

Fungal Rhinosinusitis and Disseminated Invasive Aspergillosis in Cats.

Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 2020 Mar 20;50(2):331-357. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Faculty of Veterinary Science, University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Sydney, University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Camperdown, New South Wales 2006, Australia.

Fungal rhinosinusitis, including sinonasal aspergillosis (SNA) and sino-orbital aspergillosis (SOA), is the most common type of aspergillosis encountered in cats. Other focal forms of aspergillosis including disseminated invasive aspergillosis occur less frequently. SOA is an invasive mycosis that is increasingly recognized and is most commonly caused by Aspergillus felis, a close relative of Aspergillus fumigatus. SNA can be invasive or noninvasive and is most commonly caused by A fumigatus and Aspergillus niger. Molecular methods are required to correctly identify the fungi that cause SNA and SOA. SNA has a favorable prognosis with treatment, whereas the prognosis for SOA remains poor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cvsm.2019.10.006DOI Listing
March 2020

Distinct Lineages of Feline Parvovirus Associated with Epizootic Outbreaks in Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.

Viruses 2019 12 13;11(12). Epub 2019 Dec 13.

Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney, Camperdown NSW 2050, Australia.

Feline panleukopenia (FPL), a frequently fatal disease of cats, is caused by feline parvovirus (FPV) or canine parvovirus (CPV). We investigated simultaneous outbreaks of FPL between 2014 and 2018 in Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where FPL outbreaks had not been reported for several decades. Case data from 989 cats and clinical samples from additional 113 cats were obtained to determine the cause of the outbreaks and epidemiological factors involved. Most cats with FPL were shelter-housed, 9 to 10 weeks old at diagnosis, unvaccinated, had not completed a primary vaccination series or had received vaccinations noncompliant with current guidelines. Analysis of parvoviral VP2 sequence data confirmed that all FPL cases were caused by FPV and not CPV. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that each of these outbreaks was caused by a distinct FPV, with two virus lineages present in eastern Australia and virus movement between different geographical locations. Viruses from the UAE outbreak formed a lineage of unknown origin. FPV vaccine virus was detected in the New Zealand cases, highlighting the difficulty of distinguishing the co-incidental shedding of vaccine virus in vaccinated cats. Inadequate vaccination coverage in shelter-housed cats was a common factor in all outbreaks, likely precipitating the multiple re-emergence of infection events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v11121155DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6950618PMC
December 2019

Socioeconomic, geographic and climatic risk factors for canine parvovirus infection and euthanasia in Australia.

Prev Vet Med 2020 Jan 10;174:104816. Epub 2019 Nov 10.

The University of Sydney, Sydney School of Veterinary Science, NSW 2006, Australia.

Infection of canids with canine parvovirus (CPV) can result in severe, often fatal disease. This study aimed to examine climatic, socioeconomic and geographic risk factors for CPV infection and CPV-associated euthanasia in Australia. Australian veterinary hospital responses (534; 23.5 %) to a national veterinary survey of CPV case occurrences and euthanasias in 2016 were used. Severe caseloads (>40 cases per annum) were reported by 26 (11 %) hospitals (median 60 cases; IQR 50-110). Case reporting, case numbers, and without-treatment euthanasia were significantly associated with disadvantage across all Socio-Economic Index for Areas quintiles (p < 0.0001) - the greater the disadvantage, the more reports. Strong negative correlations were found between case numbers and the Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage (r = -0.3357, p < 0.0001) and also between euthanasia and the Index of Education and Occupation (r = -0.3762, p < 0.0001). Hospitals in more remote areas were also more likely to report cases and to euthanize without treatment (p < 0.0001). Of the climate variables, temperature of the hottest month was most strongly positively correlated with case numbers (r = 0.421, p < 0.0001), and lower annual rainfall was associated with more case-reporting hospitals (p < 0.0001). These results confirm that socioeconomic disadvantage is a significant risk-factor for CPV infection and outcome, and high temperature may also contribute to risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2019.104816DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7126844PMC
January 2020

Prevalence and risk factors for Felis catus gammaherpesvirus 1 detection in domestic cats in Italy.

Vet Microbiol 2019 Nov 22;238:108426. Epub 2019 Sep 22.

Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari, Valenzano, Bari, Italy. Electronic address:

Felis catus gammaherpesvirus 1 (FcaGHV1), a novel gammaherpesvirus of domestic cats identified in 2014, has been detected in different countries demonstrating a worldwide distribution. The aim of this study was to establish the prevalence of FcaGHV1 in Italy using a molecular epidemiological approach. FcaGHV1 DNA was detected with virus-specific real-time PCR in ≃1% of 2659 feline blood samples tested. Analysis of risk factors showed that being male and coinfection with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) increase the likelihood of FcaGHV1 detection. One-third of FcaGHV1-positive cats also tested positive for FIV provirus, whereas coinfections with feline panleukopenia virus were not demonstrated. Further studies are necessary to confirm the risk factors for FcaGHV1 detection and the pathobiology of the virus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2019.108426DOI Listing
November 2019

A Novel Hepadnavirus is Associated with Chronic Hepatitis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Cats.

Viruses 2019 10 21;11(10). Epub 2019 Oct 21.

Faculty of Science, Sydney School of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia.

In 2015, over 850,000 people died from chronic hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV). A novel hepatitis B-like virus has recently been identified in domestic cats. The pathogenic potential of domestic cat hepadnavirus (DCH), for which 6.5% to 10.8% of pet cats are viremic, is unknown. We evaluated stored formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded biopsies of diseased and normal feline liver for the presence of DCH using PCR and in situ hybridization (ISH). DCH was detected in 43% (6/14) of chronic hepatitis cases and 28% (8/29) of HCCs, whereas cholangitis ( = 6), biliary carcinoma ( = 18) and normal liver ( = 15) all tested negative for DCH. Furthermore, in DCH-associated cases, the histologic features of inflammation and neoplasia, and the viral distribution on ISH were strikingly similar to those seen with HBV-associated disease. Several histological features common in human HBV-associated hepatitis, including piecemeal necrosis and apoptotic bodies, were identified in DCH-positive cases of chronic hepatitis. In two cases of HCC examined, the proliferation index in regions that were ISH-positive was higher than in ISH-negative regions. The intracellular distribution of virus in both hepatitis and HCC demonstrated that viral nucleic acid is present in both nuclear and cytoplasmic forms. Collectively, these findings demonstrate a compelling association between DCH and some cases of chronic hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma in the cat that mirrors features of HBV-associated hepatopathies. Future investigations of viral epidemiology and natural history are needed to establish the impact of DCH on feline health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v11100969DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6832243PMC
October 2019

Looking like the locals - gut microbiome changes post-release in an endangered species.

Anim Microbiome 2019 Oct 3;1(1). Epub 2019 Oct 3.

School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia.

Background: Captivity presents extreme lifestyle changes relative to the wild, and evidence of microbiome dysbiosis in captive animals is growing. The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in host health. Whilst captive breeding and subsequent reintroduction to the wild is important for conservation, such efforts often have limited success. Post-release monitoring is essential for assessing translocation success, but changes to the microbiome of released individuals are poorly understood. The Tasmanian devil was previously shown to exhibit loss of microbiome diversity as a result of intense captive management. This current study examines changes in the devil gut microbiome in response to translocation and aims to determine if perturbations from captivity are permanent or reversible.

Methods: Using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, we conducted temporal monitoring of the gut microbiome of released devils during two translocation events, captive-to-wild and wild-to-wild. To investigate whether the microbiome of the released devils changed following translocation, we characterized their microbiome at multiple time points during the translocation process over the course of 6-12 months and compared them to the microbiome of wild incumbent devils (resident wild-born devils at the respective release sites).

Results: We showed that the pre-release microbiome was significantly different to the microbiome of wild incumbent animals, but that the microbiomes of animals post-release (as early as 3 to 4 weeks post-release) were similar to wild incumbents. The gut microbiome of released animals showed significant compositional shifts toward the wild incumbent microbiome of both translocation events.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that the devil gut microbiome is dynamic and that loss of microbiome diversity in captivity can be restored following release to the wild. We recommend the broader application of microbiome monitoring in wildlife translocation programs to assess the impacts of translocation on animal microbiomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s42523-019-0012-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7807427PMC
October 2019

Mutations, Extrolite Profiles, and Antifungal Susceptibility in Clinical and Environmental Isolates of the Aspergillus viridinutans Species Complex.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2019 11 22;63(11). Epub 2019 Oct 22.

Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

The past decade has seen an increase in aspergillosis in humans and animals due to species complex members. Azole resistance is common to these infections, carrying a poor prognosis. gene mutations are the main cause of acquired azole resistance in This study aimed to determine if the azole-resistant phenotype in complex members is associated with mutations or extrolite profiles. The gene of clinical and environmental isolates was amplified using novel primers, antifungal susceptibility was tested using the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute methodology, and extrolite profiling was performed using agar plug extraction. Very high azole MICs were detected in 84% of the isolates (31/37). The MICs of the newer antifungals luliconazole and olorofim (F901318) were low for all isolates. sequences revealed 113 nonsynonymous mutations compared to the sequence of wild-type M172A/V and D255G, previously associated with azole resistance, were common among all isolates but were not correlated with azole MICs. Two environmental isolates with nonsusceptibility to itraconazole and high MICs of voriconazole and isavuconazole harbored G138C, previously associated with azole-resistant Some novel mutations were identified only among isolates with high azole MICs. However, homology modeling did not cause a significant protein structure change for these mutations. There was no correlation between extrolite patterns and susceptibility. For complex isolates, mutations and the extrolites that they produced were not major causes of antifungal resistance. Luliconazole and olorofim show promise for treating azole-resistant infections caused by these cryptic species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AAC.00632-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6811395PMC
November 2019

Acute adrenal haemorrhage in two cats with aldosterone-secreting adenocarcinomas.

JFMS Open Rep 2019 Jan-Jun;5(1):2055116919840828. Epub 2019 Apr 3.

Valentine Charlton Cat Centre, University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Case Summary: Two 13-year-old domestic shorthair cats were diagnosed with unilateral right adrenocortical carcinomas (ACCs) and primary hyperaldosteronism (PHA). Both had polyuria, polydipsia and weight loss, and developed severe anaemia from an episode of acute adrenal haemorrhage. In one case, this occurred during hospitalisation and treatment of severe muscle weakness with cervical ventroflexion, while the other cat had acute collapse at home. A diagnosis of PHA was confirmed in both cases based on measurement of plasma aldosterone and renin activity. In one case, basal progesterone was also measured and was elevated. On ultrasonography and CT in one case, haemorrhage into the right retroperitoneal space was identified. Unilateral adrenalectomy was performed in both cases and there was no evidence of venous tumoral invasion in either. On histopathology of the excised adrenal glands both were ACCs with tumour necrosis, and one had extensive intratumoral haemorrhage. Both cats were diagnosed with International Renal Interest Society stage 2 or 3 chronic kidney disease postoperatively; one survived for 18 months and the other was well 8 months postoperatively.

Relevance And Novel Information: Acute adrenal haemorrhage secondary to adrenal neoplasia has been reported in only one other cat, in which tumour type and function were not specified. Acute adrenal haemorrhage can occur as a consequence of tumour necrosis and rupture and can cause severe hypovolaemia and anaemia in cats with primary hyperaldosteronism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2055116919840828DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6449812PMC
April 2019

Feline Panleukopenia: A Re-emergent Disease.

Authors:
Vanessa R Barrs

Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 2019 Jul 6;49(4):651-670. Epub 2019 Apr 6.

Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, and Marie Bashir Institute of Infectious Diseases & Biosecurity, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia. Electronic address:

Feline panleukopenia (FPL) is caused by a Carnivore protoparvovirus infection. Feline parvovirus (FPV) causes most cases. When Canine parvovirus 2 (CPV-2) first emerged, it could not replicate in cats. All current CPV variants (CPV-2a-c) can infect cats to cause subclinical disease or FPL. Feline panleukopenia has re-emerged in Australia in shelter cats associated with failure to vaccinate. Parvoviruses can remain latent in mononuclear cells post-infection. Molecular methods such as polymerase chain reaction are used to determine the infecting strain. Current perspectives on causes, epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, prognostic indicators, and management of outbreaks in shelters are reviewed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cvsm.2019.02.006DOI Listing
July 2019

Fecal Viral Diversity of Captive and Wild Tasmanian Devils Characterized Using Virion-Enriched Metagenomics and Metatranscriptomics.

J Virol 2019 06 15;93(11). Epub 2019 May 15.

Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

The Tasmanian devil is an endangered carnivorous marsupial threatened by devil facial tumor disease (DFTD). While research on DFTD has been extensive, little is known about viruses in devils and whether any are of potential conservation relevance for this endangered species. Using both metagenomics based on virion enrichment and sequence-independent amplification (virion-enriched metagenomics) and metatranscriptomics based on bulk RNA sequencing, we characterized and compared the fecal viromes of captive and wild devils. A total of 54 fecal samples collected from two captive and four wild populations were processed for virome characterization using both approaches. In total, 24 novel marsupial-related viruses, comprising a sapelovirus, astroviruses, rotaviruses, picobirnaviruses, parvoviruses, papillomaviruses, polyomaviruses, and a gammaherpesvirus, were identified, as well as known mammalian pathogens such as rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2. Captive devils showed significantly lower viral diversity than wild devils. Comparison of the two virus discovery approaches revealed substantial differences in the number and types of viruses detected, with metatranscriptomics better suited for RNA viruses and virion-enriched metagenomics largely identifying more DNA viruses. Thus, the viral communities revealed by virion-enriched metagenomics and metatranscriptomics were not interchangeable and neither approach was able to detect all viruses present. An integrated approach using both virion-enriched metagenomics and metatranscriptomics constitutes a powerful tool for obtaining a complete overview of both the taxonomic and functional profiles of viral communities within a sample. The Tasmanian devil is an iconic Australian marsupial that has suffered an 80% population decline due to a contagious cancer, devil facial tumor disease, along with other threats. Until now, viral discovery in this species has been confined to one gammaherpesvirus (dasyurid herpesvirus 2 [DaHV-2]), for which captivity was identified as a significant risk factor. Our discovery of 24 novel marsupial-associated RNA and DNA viruses, and that viral diversity is lower in captive than in wild devils, has greatly expanded our knowledge of gut-associated viruses in devils and provides important baseline information that will contribute to the conservation and captive management of this endangered species. Our results also revealed that a combination of virion-enriched metagenomics and metatranscriptomics may be a more comprehensive approach for virome characterization than either method alone. Our results thus provide a springboard for continuous improvements in the way we study complex viral communities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00205-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6532096PMC
June 2019
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