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Animal Diseases - Top 30 Publications

Impact of body condition on influenza A virus infection dynamics in mallards following a secondary exposure.

Migratory waterfowl are often viewed as vehicles for the global spread of influenza A viruses (IAVs), with mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) implicated as particularly important reservoir hosts. The physical demands and energetic costs of migration have been shown to influence birds' body condition; poorer body condition may suppress immune function and affect the course of IAV infection. Our study evaluated the impact of body condition on immune function and viral shedding dynamics in mallards naturally exposed to an H9 IAV, and then secondarily exposed to an H4N6 IAV. Mallards were divided into three treatment groups of 10 birds per group, with each bird's body condition manipulated as a function of body weight by restricting food availability to achieve either a -10%, -20%, or control body weight class. We found that mallards exhibit moderate heterosubtypic immunity against an H4N6 IAV infection after an infection from an H9 IAV, and that body condition did not have an impact on shedding dynamics in response to a secondary exposure. Furthermore, body condition did not affect aspects of the innate and adaptive immune system, including the acute phase protein haptoglobin, heterophil/lymphocyte ratios, and antibody production. Contrary to recently proposed hypotheses and some experimental evidence, our data do not support relationships between body condition, infection and immunocompetence following a second exposure to IAV in mallards. Consequently, while annual migration may be a driver in the maintenance and spread of IAVs, the energetic demands of migration may not affect susceptibility in mallards.

Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium and Giardia from the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii).

The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a carnivorous marsupial found only in the wild in Tasmania, Australia. Tasmanian devils are classified as endangered and are currently threatened by devil facial tumour disease, a lethal transmissible cancer that has decimated the wild population in Tasmania. To prevent extinction of Tasmanian devils, conservation management was implemented in 2003 under the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. This study aimed to assess if conservation management was altering the interactions between Tasmanian devils and their parasites. Molecular tools were used to investigate the prevalence and diversity of two protozoan parasites, Cryptosporidium and Giardia, in Tasmanian devils. A comparison of parasite prevalence between wild and captive Tasmanian devils showed that both Cryptosporidium and Giardia were significantly more prevalent in wild devils (p < 0.05); Cryptosporidium was identified in 37.9% of wild devils but only 10.7% of captive devils, while Giardia was identified in 24.1% of wild devils but only 0.82% of captive devils. Molecular analysis identified the presence of novel genotypes of both Cryptosporidium and Giardia. The novel Cryptosporidium genotype was 98.1% similar at the 18S rDNA to Cryptosporidium varanii (syn. C. saurophilum) with additional samples identified as C. fayeri, C. muris, and C. galli. Two novel Giardia genotypes, TD genotype 1 and TD genotype 2, were similar to G. duodenalis from dogs (94.4%) and a Giardia assemblage A isolate from humans (86.9%). Giardia duodenalis BIV, a zoonotic genotype of Giardia, was also identified in a single captive Tasmanian devil. These findings suggest that conservation management may be altering host-parasite interactions in the Tasmanian devil, and the presence of G. duodenalis BIV in a captive devil points to possible human-devil parasite transmission.

The Diverse Cellular and Animal Models to Decipher the Physiopathological Traits of Mycobacterium abscessus Infection.

Mycobacterium abscessus represents an important respiratory pathogen among the rapidly-growing non-tuberculous mycobacteria. Infections caused by M. abscessus are increasingly found in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients and are often refractory to antibiotic therapy. The underlying immunopathological mechanisms of pathogenesis remain largely unknown. A major reason for the poor advances in M. abscessus research has been a lack of adequate models to study the acute and chronic stages of the disease leading to delayed progress of evaluation of therapeutic efficacy of potentially active antibiotics. However, the recent development of cellular models led to new insights in the interplay between M. abscessus with host macrophages as well as with amoebae, proposed to represent the environmental host and reservoir for non-tuberculous mycobacteria. The zebrafish embryo has also appeared as a useful alternative to more traditional models as it recapitulates the vertebrate immune system and, due to its optical transparency, allows a spatio-temporal visualization of the infection process in a living animal. More sophisticated immunocompromised mice have also been exploited recently to dissect the immune and inflammatory responses to M. abscessus. Herein, we will discuss the limitations, advantages and potential offered by these various models to study the pathophysiology of M. abscessus infection and to assess the preclinical efficacy of compounds active against this emerging human pathogen.

Tissue tropisms, infection kinetics, histologic lesions, and antibody response of the MR766 strain of Zika virus in a murine model.

The appearance of severe Zika virus (ZIKV) disease in the most recent outbreak has prompted researchers to respond through the development of tools to quickly characterize transmission and pathology. We describe here another such tool, a mouse model of ZIKV infection and pathogenesis using the MR766 strain of virus that adds to the growing body of knowledge regarding ZIKV kinetics in small animal models.

Early outbreak detection by linking health advice line calls to water distribution areas retrospectively demonstrated in a large waterborne outbreak of cryptosporidiosis in Sweden.

In the winter and spring of 2011 a large outbreak of cryptosporidiosis occurred in Skellefteå municipality, Sweden. This study summarizes the outbreak investigation in terms of outbreak size, duration, clinical characteristics, possible source(s) and the potential for earlier detection using calls to a health advice line.

Serum C-reactive protein concentrations in Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers with immune-mediated rheumatic disease.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers (NSDTRs) are a dog breed often affected by immune-mediated rheumatic disease (IMRD), a disorder characterised by chronic stiffness and joint pain. Most, but not all, dogs with IMRD, have antinuclear antibodies (ANA), which are also commonly present in the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The clinical and diagnostic findings of IMRD indicate that it is an SLE-related disorder. C-reactive protein (CRP), an acute phase protein, is a quantitative marker of inflammation for many diseases and is used for diagnosing and monitoring systemic inflammation in both humans and dogs. However, in human SLE, CRP concentrations are often elevated but correlate poorly with disease activity; they can be low in individual patients with active disease. The aim of the study was to investigate CRP in a group of NSDTRs with the SLE-related disorder IMRD. The hypothesis was that CRP concentrations would be increased in dogs with IMRD compared to healthy dogs, but that the increase would be mild. Serum CRP concentrations were measured in 18 IMRD-affected NSDTRs and 19 healthy control NSDTRs using two different canine-specific CRP assays. Dogs with IMRD and ANA had higher CRP concentrations than the control dogs, but the concentrations were below the clinical decision limit for systemic inflammation for most of the IMRD dogs. These results indicate that CRP concentrations were increased in dogs with IMRD and ANA, but the increase was mild, similar to what has been observed in human SLE.

Genetically engineered mouse models of craniopharyngioma: an opportunity for therapy development and understanding of tumor biology.

Adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma (ACP) is the commonest tumor of the sellar region in childhood. Two genetically engineered mouse models have been developed and are giving valuable insights into ACP biology. These models have identified novel pathways activated in tumors, revealed an important function of paracrine signalling and extended conventional theories about the role of organ-specific stem cells in tumorigenesis. In this review, we summarize these mouse models, what has been learnt, their limitations and open questions for future research. We then discussed how these mouse models may be used to test novel therapeutics against potentially targetable pathways recently identified in human ACP.

Humanized Immunoglobulin Mice: Models for HIV Vaccine Testing and Studying the Broadly Neutralizing Antibody Problem.

A vaccine that can effectively prevent HIV-1 transmission remains paramount to ending the HIV pandemic, but to do so, will likely need to induce broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) responses. A major technical hurdle toward achieving this goal has been a shortage of animal models with the ability to systematically pinpoint roadblocks to bnAb induction and to rank vaccine strategies based on their ability to stimulate bnAb development. Over the past 6 years, immunoglobulin (Ig) knock-in (KI) technology has been leveraged to express bnAbs in mice, an approach that has enabled elucidation of various B-cell tolerance mechanisms limiting bnAb production and evaluation of strategies to circumvent such processes. From these studies, in conjunction with the wealth of information recently obtained regarding the evolutionary pathways and paratopes/epitopes of multiple bnAbs, it has become clear that the very features of bnAbs desired for their function will be problematic to elicit by traditional vaccine paradigms, necessitating more iterative testing of new vaccine concepts. To meet this need, novel bnAb KI models have now been engineered to express either inferred prerearranged V(D)J exons (or unrearranged germline V, D, or J segments that can be assembled into functional rearranged V(D)J exons) encoding predecessors of mature bnAbs. One encouraging approach that has materialized from studies using such newer models is sequential administration of immunogens designed to bind progressively more mature bnAb predecessors. In this review, insights into the regulation and induction of bnAbs based on the use of KI models will be discussed, as will new Ig KI approaches for higher-throughput production and/or altering expression of bnAbs in vivo, so as to further enable vaccine-guided bnAb induction studies.

Eurasian golden jackal as host of canine vector-borne protists.

Jackals are medium-sized canids from the wolf-like clade, exhibiting a unique combination of ancestral morphotypes, broad trophic niches, and close phylogenetic relationships with the wolf and dog. Thus, they represent a potential host of several pathogens with diverse transmission routes. Recently, populations of the Eurasian golden jackal Canis aureus have expanded into the Western Palaearctic, including most of Europe. The aim of our study was to examine Eurasian golden jackals from Romania, Czech Republic and Austria for a wide spectrum of vector-borne protists and to evaluate the role of this species as a reservoir of disease for domestic dogs and/or humans.

Colibactin Contributes to the Hypervirulence of pks(+) K1 CC23 Klebsiella pneumoniae in Mouse Meningitis Infections.

Klebsiella pneumoniae is the most common pathogen of community-acquired meningitis in Taiwan. However, the lack of a physiologically relevant meningitis model for K. pneumoniae has impeded research into its pathogenesis mechanism. Based on the core genome MLST analyses, the hypervirulent K1 K. pneumoniae strains, which are etiologically implicated in adult meningitis, mostly belong to a single clonal complex, CC23. Some K1 CC23 K. pneumoniae strains carry a gene cluster responsible for colibactin production. Colibactin is a small genotoxic molecule biosynthesized by an NRPS-PKS complex, which is encoded by genes located on the pks island. Compared to other hypervirulent K. pneumoniae which primarily infect the liver, the colibactin-producing (pks(+)) K1 CC23 strains had significant tropism toward the brain of BALB/c mice. We aimed in this study to develop a physiologically relevant meningitis model with the use of pks(+) K1 CC23 K. pneumoniae. Acute meningitis was successfully induced in adult BALB/c male mice through orogastric, intranasal, and intravenous inoculation of pks(+) K1 CC23 K. pneumoniae. Besides the typical symptoms of bacterial meningitis, severe DNA damages, and caspase 3-independent cell death were elicited by the colibactin-producing K1 CC23 K. pneumoniae strain. The deletion of clbA, which abolished the production of colibactin, substantially hindered K. pneumoniae hypervirulence in the key pathogenic steps toward the development of meningitis. Our findings collectively demonstrated that colibactin was necessary but not sufficient for the meningeal tropism of pks(+) K1 CC23 K. pneumoniae, and the mouse model established in this study can be applied to identify other virulence factors participating in the development of this life-threatening disease.

BestBETs for Vets.

BestBETs for Vets are generated by the Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine at the University of Nottingham to help answer specific questions and assist in clinical decision making. Although evidence is often limited, they aim to find, present and draw conclusions from the best available evidence, using a standardised framework. A more detailed description of how BestBETs for Vets are produced was published in a previous issue of Veterinary Record (VR, April 4, 2015, pp 354-356).

Nested-PCR assay for detection of Schistosoma japonicum infection in domestic animals.

Schistosomiasis japonica is a common zoonosis. Domestic animals are the primary source of infection and play an important role in disease transmission. The prevalence and infectivity of this disease in domestic animals in China have significantly decreased and, for this reason, diagnostics with a higher sensitivity have become increasingly necessary. It was reported that polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods could be used to detect schistosome infection in humans and animals and presented a high sensitivity and specificity. The present study aimed to develop a PCR-based method for detection of Schistosoma japonicum infection in domestic animals.

First autochthonous cases of canine thelaziosis in Slovakia: a new affected area in Central Europe.

The spirurid nematode Thelazia callipaeda, also called the "Oriental eyeworm", is the causative agent of canine and human ocular thelaziosis. In the past few years it has started to spread across central Europe and new endemic areas have been established. The present study reports on the first four autochthonous cases of canine ocular thelaziosis in the territory of Slovakia, Central Europe.

Genomic characterization of two novel pathogenic avipoxviruses isolated from pacific shearwaters (Ardenna spp.).

Over the past 20 years, many marine seabird populations have been gradually declining and the factors driving this ongoing deterioration are not always well understood. Avipoxvirus infections have been found in a wide range of bird species worldwide, however, very little is known about the disease ecology of avian poxviruses in seabirds. Here we present two novel avipoxviruses from pacific shearwaters (Ardenna spp), one from a Flesh-footed Shearwater (A. carneipes) (SWPV-1) and the other from a Wedge-tailed Shearwater (A. pacificus) (SWPV-2).

Protection induced by virus-like particles containing Toxoplasma gondii microneme protein 8 against highly virulent RH strain of Toxoplasma gondii infection.

Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) microneme protein 8 (MIC8) represents a novel, functional distinct invasion factor. In this study, we generated virus-like particles (VLPs) targeting Toxoplasma gondii MIC8 for the first time, and investigated the protection against highly virulent RH strain of T. gondii in a mouse model. We found that VLP vaccination induced Toxoplasma gondii-specific IgG and IgG1 antibody responses in the sera. Upon challenge infection with RH strain of T. gondii tachyzoites, vaccinated mice showed a significant increase of both IgG antibodies in sera and IgA antibodies in feces compared to those before challenge, and a rapid expansion of both germinal center B cell (B220+, GL7+) and T cell (CD4+, CD8+) populations. Importantly, intranasally immunized mice showed higher neutralizing antibodies and displayed no proinflammatory cytokine IFN-γ in the spleen. Mice were completely protected from a lethal challenge infection with the highly virulent T. gondii (RH) showing no body weight loss (100% survival). Our study shows the effective protection against T. gondii infection provided by VLPs containing microneme protein 8 of T. gondii, thus indicating a potential T. gondii vaccine candidate.

Foot-and-mouth disease virus infection inhibits LGP2 protein expression to exaggerate inflammatory response and promote viral replication.

The role of the innate immune protein LGP2 (laboratory of genetics and physiology 2) in FMDV-infected cells remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate the antiviral role of LGP2 during FMDV infection. FMDV infection triggered LGP2 mRNA expression but reduced protein expression. Overexpression of LGP2 suppressed FMDV replication, and the inflammatory response was significantly inhibited by LGP2 in virus-infected cells. The N-terminal DExDc and the C-terminal regulatory domain regions of LGP2 were essential for LGP2-mediated antiviral activity against FMDV. Disruption of RNA recognition by LGP2 is suggested to abolish completely LGP2-mediated antiviral activity against FMDV. FMDV leader protein (L(pro)), as well as the 3C(pro) and 2B proteins were determined to possess the ability to induce reduction of LGP2 protein expression. 2B-induced reduction of LGP2 was independent of cleavage of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4 gamma; and the proteasomes, lysosomes or caspase-dependent pathways were not involved in this process. The C-terminal amino acids of 101-154 were essential for 2B-induced reduction of LGP2 and upregulation of inflammatory response. Direct interaction was demonstrated between LGP2 and 2B. Our results describe the antiviral role of LGP2 against FMDV and a novel antagonistic mechanism of FMDV that is mediated by 2B protein.

Pathobiological investigation of naturally infected canine rabies cases from Sri Lanka.

The recommended screening of rabies in 'suspect' animal cases involves testing fresh brain tissue. The preservation of fresh tissue however can be difficult under field conditions and formalin fixation provides a simple alternative that may allow a confirmatory diagnosis. The occurrence and location of histopathological changes and immunohistochemical (IHC) labelling for rabies in formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) canine brain is described in samples from 57 rabies suspect cases from Sri-Lanka. The presence of Negri bodies and immunohistochemical detection of rabies virus antigen were evaluated in the cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum and brainstem. The effect of autolysis and artefactual degeneration of the tissue was also assessed.

Variation in fat content between liver lobes and comparison with histopathological scores in dairy cows with fatty liver.

The assessment of a liver biopsy remains the gold standard for diagnosing and staging fatty liver in dairy cows, which is often necessary for diagnostic and research purposes. Accuracy of the diagnosis relays on the quality of the biopsy, the assumed representativeness of a small tissue sample for a disease process throughout the liver and accurate human evaluation of histologic specimens. The objective of the present study was to assess the distribution of triacylglycerol (TAG) infiltration throughout the parenchyma of livers with different degrees of fatty liver in dairy cows. In addition, histopathological scores from the corresponding specimens were compared to a quantitative measurement of TAG, as well as the agreement between two observers.

Spontaneous diseases in captive ratites (Struthioniformes) in northwestern Germany: A retrospective study.

A retrospective study was carried out to define the spectrum of spontaneous diseases in ostriches and few other captive ratites, order Struthioniformes, in northwestern Germany. The investigation included 71 ratites necropsied between 1968 and 2014. They consisted of 54 ostriches, 5 emus, and 12 rheas with 37 adults, 23 juveniles and 11 neonates and embryonated eggs. Necropsy reports were reviewed, histologic preparations were re-examined and additional histochemical and immunohistochemical stains were carried out in selected cases. In many animals more than one morphologic diagnosis attributable to different disease processes was found. In adult animals (n = 37), the most commonly altered organ systems were the musculoskeletal system (49%), the digestive system (46%), and the cardiovascular system (46%) affected by traumatic lesions, inflammatory and degenerative changes, respectively. A spongy degeneration was found in the brain (35%); however, immunohistochemistry and western blotting failed to detect pathological prion protein. In juvenile animals (n = 23), the musculoskeletal (44%) and the digestive system (43%) were mainly affected by traumatic and inflammatory lesions, respectively. In embryonated eggs and neonates (n = 11) the major cause of death was circulatory failure associated with generalized subcutaneous edema as described for improper incubation conditions (64%). Summarized, most of the findings observed in adult and juvenile ratites in northwestern Germany are related to trauma, inflammatory and degenerative disorders, whereas death in embryonated eggs and neonates was most likely related to breeding conditions. A spongy encephalopathy awaits further studies to elucidate cause and pathogenesis.

Analgesic efficacy of tramadol in cats with naturally occurring osteoarthritis.

This study aimed to (1) compare outcome assessments in normal and osteoarthritic cats and (2) evaluate the analgesic efficacy of tramadol in feline osteoarthritis (OA), in a prospective, randomised, blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover design.

Low prevalence of human enteropathogenic Yersinia spp. in brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) in Flanders.

Brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) have been identified as potential carriers of Yersinia enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis, the etiological agents of yersiniosis, the third most reported bacterial zoonosis in Europe. Enteropathogenic Yersinia spp. are most often isolated from rats during yersiniosis cases in animals and humans, and from rats inhabiting farms and slaughterhouses. Information is however lacking regarding the extent to which rats act as carriers of these Yersinia spp.. In 2013, 1088 brown rats across Flanders, Belgium, were tested for the presence of Yersinia species by isolation method. Identification was performed using MALDI-TOF MS, PCR on chromosomal- and plasmid-borne virulence genes, biotyping and serotyping. Yersinia spp. were isolated from 38.4% of the rats. Of these, 53.4% were designated Y. enterocolitica, 0.7% Y. pseudotuberculosis and 49.0% other Yersinia species. Two Y. enterocolitica possessing the virF-, ail- and ystA-gene were isolated. Additionally, the ystB-gene was identified in 94.1% of the other Y. enterocolitica isolates, suggestive for biotype 1A. Three of these latter isolates simultaneously possessed the ail-virulence gene. Significantly more Y. enterocolitica were isolated during winter and spring compared to summer. Based on our findings we can conclude that brown rats are frequent carriers for various Yersinia spp., including Y. pseudotuberculosis and (human pathogenic) Y. enterocolitica which are more often isolated during winter and spring.

Triploid atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) post-smolts accumulate prevalence more slowly than diploid salmon following bath challenge with salmonid alphavirus subtype 3.

Triploid Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) may play an important role in the sustainable expansion of the Norwegian aquaculture industry. Therefore, the susceptibility of triploid salmon to common infections such as salmonid alphavirus (SAV), the causative agent of pancreas disease (PD), requires investigation. In this study, shortly after seawater transfer, diploid and triploid post-smolts were exposed to SAV type 3 (SAV3) using a bath challenge model where the infectious dose was 48 TCID50 ml-1 of tank water. Copy number analysis of SAV3 RNA in heart tissue showed that there was no difference in viral loads between the diploids and triploids. Prevalence reached 100% by the end of the 35-day experimental period in both infected groups. However, prevalence accumulated more slowly in the triploid group reaching 19% and 56% at 14 and 21 days post exposure (dpe) respectively. Whereas prevalence in the diploid group was 82% and 100% at the same time points indicating some differences between diploid and triploid fish. Both heart and pancreas from infected groups at 14 dpe showed typical histopathological changes associated with pancreas disease. Observation of this slower accumulation of prevalence following a natural infection route was possible due to the early sampling points and the exposure to a relatively low dose of virus. The triploid salmon in this study were not more susceptible to SAV3 than diploid salmon indicating that they could be used commercially to reduce the environmental impact of escaped farmed fish interbreeding with wild salmon. This is important information regarding the future use of triploid fish in large scale aquaculture where SAV3 is a financial threat to increased production.

A protocol for identifying suitable biomarkers to assess fish health: A systematic review.

Biomarkers have been used extensively to provide the connection between external levels of contaminant exposure, internal levels of tissue contamination, and early adverse effects in organisms.

Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia spp. in feces and water and the associated exposure factors on dairy farms.

The aims of this study were to verify the prevalence of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia spp. in animal feces and drinking water on dairy farms and to identify a possible relation between the exposure factors and the presence of these parasites. Fecal samples from cattle and humans and water samples were collected on dairy farms in Paraná, Brazil. Analysis of (oo)cysts in the feces was performed by the modified Ziehl-Neelsen staining and centrifugal flotation in zinc sulfate. Test-positive samples were subjected to nested PCR amplification of the 18SSU ribosomal RNA gene for identification of Cryptosporidium and Giardia and of the gp60 gene for subtyping of Cryptosporidium. Microbiological analysis of water was carried out by the multiple-tube method and by means of a chromogenic substrate, and parasitological analysis was performed on 31 samples by direct immunofluorescence and nested PCR of the genes mentioned above. Identification of the species of Cryptosporidium was performed by sequencing and PCR with analysis of restriction fragment length polymorphisms. The prevalence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium was higher in calves than in adults. Among the samples of cattle feces, Cryptosporidium parvum was identified in 41 (64%), C. ryanae in eight (12.5%), C. bovis in four (6.3%), C. andersoni in five (7.8%), and a mixed infection in 20 samples (31.3%). These parasites were not identified in the samples of human feces. Thermotolerant coliform bacteria were identified in 25 samples of water (45.5%). Giardia duodenalis and C. parvum were identified in three water samples. The gp60 gene analysis of C. parvum isolates revealed the presence of two strains (IIaA20G1R1 and IIaA17G2R2) in the fecal samples and one (IIaA17G2R1) in the water samples. The presence of coliforms was associated with the water source, structure and degradation of springs, rain, and turbidity. The prevalence of protozoa was higher in calves up to six months of age. C. parvum and G. duodenalis were identified in the water of dairy farms, as were thermotolerant coliforms; these findings point to the need for guidance on handling of animals, preservation of water sources, and water treatment.

Prevalence of Cryptosporidium Carriage and Disease in Children With Primary Immune Deficiencies Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant in Northern Europe.

A prospective cohort study of children with primary immunodeficiencies undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplant in the United Kingdom investigated the extent and significance of Cryptosporidium carriage in this high risk group. Three of 42 children recruited were infected with Cryptosporidium, a lower proportion than previously described. One had serious disease. The underlying immunodeficiency likely had a bearing on the clinical presentation and possible outcome of infection.

Pathogenicity and transmission of a swine influenza A(H6N6) virus.

Subtype H6 influenza A viruses (IAVs) are commonly detected in wild birds and domestic poultry and can infect humans. In 2010, a H6N6 virus emerged in southern China, and since then, it has caused sporadic infections among swine. We show that this virus binds to α2,6-linked and α2,3-linked sialic acids. Mutations at residues 222 (alanine to valine) and 228 (glycine to serine) of the virus hemagglutinin (HA) affected its receptor-binding properties. Experiments showed that the virus has limited transmissibility between ferrets through direct contact or through inhalation of infectious aerosolized droplets. The internal genes of the influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus, which is prevalent in swine worldwide, increases the replication efficiency of H6N6 IAV in the lower respiratory tract of ferrets but not its transmissibility between ferrets. These findings suggest H6N6 swine IAV (SIV) currently poses a moderate risk to public health, but its evolution and spread should be closely monitored.

Molecular characterization and antimicrobial resistance of Salmonella enterica from swine slaughtered in two different types of Philippine abattoir.

Salmonella enterica is a well-known pathogen commonly acquired from the consumption of contaminated food. It has been estimated to affect millions of humans and cause hundreds of thousands of deaths per year globally. Pork, one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, has been identified as one of the main sources of human salmonellosis. In this study, we aimed to detect and characterize S. enterica from slaughtered swine and generate antimicrobial resistance profiles of select isolates. Tonsils and jejunum with mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) were collected from a total of 240 swine from eight abattoirs (five accredited and three locally registered abattoirs) across Metro Manila. S. enterica were isolated using conventional culture methods and confirmed by PCR amplification of the invA gene. Isolates were further characterized based on somatic antigen by multiplex PCR. We report that there is no significant difference (P = 0.42) between the incidences of S. enterica in swine slaughtered in accredited (44.0%) and in locally registered abattoirs (46.7%). Most samples were contaminated with S. enterica under serogroup O:3,10. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing of 183 isolates using the VITEK(®) 2 system revealed high resistance to ampicillin (67.8%) and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (80.3%). Multidrug-resistance was found in 124 (67.8%) isolates.

Toxoplasma gondii in raw and dry-cured ham: The influence of the curing process.

The aim of this work was to analyze Toxoplasma gondii in raw hams by mouse bioassay and to evaluate the effect of curing on the viability of the parasite to assess the risk of infection from eating dry-cured ham. After a serology study of 1200 pigs in Aragón (Spain), forty-one naturally infected pigs with different serological titers against T. gondii were selected. Two cured periods (9 and 12 months) were evaluated as well as the influence of the physicochemical composition of hams on T. gondii survival. Although the parasite burden was low, a high number of seropositive pigs with Toxoplasma tissues cysts in raw hams were found (31.6%). Viability of T. gondii was influenced by the curing, with statistically significant differences between fresh and cured hams (p < 0.001). The viability was higher in hams cured for 9 months compared to those cured for 12 months. However, this period of curing resulted in the reduction but not in a complete elimination of the risk. Thus, from a public health point of view, under the conditions of this study it is safer to consume dry-cured ham with periods of curing higher than 12 months. Analysis of physicochemical results did not identify any variable with significant influence on the presence and viability of T. gondii in cured ham, but loss of viability of T. gondii was observed in hams with a lower fat content. Further research is required to validate combinations of salts concentration and time of curing that can be used as preventive measures in the HACCP system of dry-cured ham industry.

Salmonella Weltevreden in integrated and non-integrated tilapia aquaculture systems in Guangdong, China.

Integrated tilapia-pig farming, which uses manure from pigs as fertilizers in fish pond, is a traditional and common production system practised by small-scale farmers in South-east Asia. Although such systems may be environmentally sustainable, they also pose potential food safety hazards including transmission of faecal zoonotic pathogens and accumulation of antimicrobial and other chemical residues. This study aimed to determine differences in occurrence and characteristics of Salmonella spp. isolated from tilapia-pig and non-integrated aquaculture systems in Guangdong province, China. A total of 77 samples (9 pig feed, 19 fish feed, 9 pig faeces, 20 fish mucus and 20 fish intestine) from 10 tilapia-pig ponds and 10 non-integrated ponds were analysed. Salmonella spp. was found in fish mucus (20.0%), fish intestine (40.0%) and pig faeces (11.1%) from integrated ponds, and from fish mucus (40.0%) and fish intestine (40.0%) from non-integrated ponds. S. Weltevreden (76.5%) was by far the most common serovar showing limited antimicrobial resistance. One pig faeces sample contained S. Typhimurium whereas feed samples were found free of Salmonella spp.. DNA fingerprinting by the PFGE method showed a clonal relationship of S. Weltevreden which was supported by similar antimicrobial resistance patterns (sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim resistance) as well as most isolates harbouring a 147-kb sized plasmid. The common finding of S. Weltevreden in both tilapia production systems indicates that this serovar may have a different ecology and increased survival in aquaculture environments in comparison with other Salmonella serovars. Further in vivo studies of the ecology of S. Weltevreden in aquaculture environments are needed.

Speed of kill of a new spot-on formulation of selamectin plus sarolaner for cats against induced infestations with Ixodes ricinus.

The speed of kill of a new spot-on formulation containing selamectin plus sarolaner (Stronghold(®)Plus, Zoetis) for cats was evaluated against Ixodes ricinus ticks in a placebo-controlled, blinded study. Sixteen (16) cats were blocked by pre-treatment tick counts and randomly allocated to the placebo-treated group or the selamectin/sarolaner-treated group. Cats either received a single topical treatment at the minimum dose of 6.0mg selamectin and 1.0mg sarolaner per kg bodyweight or a placebo formulation on Day 0. On Days -2, 7, 14, 21, 28 and 35, cats were infested with approximately 50 unfed, viable and adult I. ricinus ticks. Tick counts were performed in situ 8 and 12h after treatment or re-infestation. Ticks were removed from the cats and counted at the 24h tick count. Acaricidal efficacy at each time point was calculated based on the reduction of mean live tick counts in the selamectin/sarolaner-treated group versus the placebo-treated group. There were no treatment-related adverse reactions during the study. Placebo-treated cats maintained infestations with mean tick counts ranging from 10.3 to 21.9 throughout the study. The new spot-on formulation of selamectin plus sarolaner demonstrated 99.3% efficacy (P<0.0001) within 24h after treatment against pre-existing infestations. For subsequent re-infestations, efficacy was >97.9% for at least 3 weeks and was 89.0% after the re-infestation on Day 28. Mean live tick counts were significantly reduced by 12h after re-infestation for at least 28 days (P<0.0338). Thus, a single application of the new spot-on formulation of selamectin plus sarolaner at the minimum label dose started killing ticks within 24h after treatment and within 12h after re-infestations for 4 weeks. High acaricidal efficacy was achieved within 24h after treatment and this persisted following subsequent re-infestations for a month.