Veterinary Biosciences - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-48 of 1011
Spreading of Thelazia callipaeda in Greece
Thelazia callipaeda (Spirurida, Thelaziidae), the so-called oriental eyeworm, has been increasingly reported as an agent of infection in animals and humans from many European countries. Clinical signs range from subclinical to moderate or severe ocular disorders (e.g., epiphora, photophobia, conjunctivitis, keratitis, ulcers). The disease has been also diagnosed in animals from countries of the Balkan area (e.g., Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia), but only a single case of canine thelaziosis, presumably autochthonous, was reported in Northern Greece. In this study, we provide robust information of the occurrence of thelaziosis in Greece by reporting autochthonous cases of thelaziosis in dogs (n = 46), cats (n = 3) and in one rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) living in Northern and Central regions of Greece. The occurrence of a single haplotype of the cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 gene confirms that the same zoonotic haplotype of the parasite circulating in Europe is also spreading in Greece. The increased awareness of this parasitosis is crucial to limit the risk of further infections in both humans and animals in European countries.
Allergenicity of bony and cartilaginous fish - molecular and immunological properties
Allergy to bony fish is common and probably increasing world-wide. The major heat-stable pan-fish allergen, parvalbumin (PV), has been identified and characterized for numerous fish species. In contrast, there are very few reports of allergic reactions to cartilaginous fish despite widespread consumption. The molecular basis for this seemingly low clinical cross-reactivity between these two fish groups has not been elucidated. PV consists of two distinct protein lineages, α and β. The α-lineage of this protein is predominant in muscle tissue of cartilaginous fish (Chondrichthyes), while β-PV is abundant in muscle tissue of bony fish (Osteichthyes). The low incidence of allergic reactions to ingested rays and sharks is likely due to the lack of molecular similarity, resulting in reduced immunological cross-reactivity between the two PV lineages. Structurally and physiologically, both protein lineages are very similar; however, the amino acid homology is very low with 47-54%. Furthermore, PV from ancient fish species such as the coelacanth demonstrates 62% sequence homology to leopard shark α-PV and 70% to carp β-PV. This indicates the extent of conservation of the PV isoforms lineages across millennia. This review highlights prevalence data on fish allergy and sensitization to fish, and details the molecular diversity of the two protein lineages of the major fish allergen PV among different fish groups, emphasizing the immunological and clinical differences in allergenicity.
Social network analysis of the movement of poultry to and from live bird markets in Bali and Lombok, Indonesia.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 has resulted in large losses to the Indonesian poultry sector. Evidence suggests that live bird markets (LBMs) play an important role in the epidemiology of the disease. Knowledge of the frequency and type of contact between the various poultry market players should allow animal health authorities to develop a better understanding of factors influencing virus transmission between Indonesian villages. A questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey was conducted in 17 LBMs on the neighbouring Indonesian islands of Bali and Lombok to investigate the movement patterns of poultry to and from markets. Using social network analyses, a network of contacts was created for each island from a total of 413 live poultry traders and 134 customers. Individual nodes with high degree and/or betweenness were identified in each network. The Lombok network was more dense and connected than the Bali network indicating that disease transmission would be more efficient in the Lombok network. Our findings indicate that whilst live poultry are typically transported over relatively short distances of approximately 10 km, it is not uncommon for traders and customers to travel in excess of 100 km to buy or sell poultry, which may facilitate the spread of disease over a large geographical area. This study highlights the different roles markets play in poultry movement networks and their potential for disease dissemination. The identification of highly influential market nodes allows authorities to target HPAI surveillance activities to locations where disease is more likely to be present, which is crucial in low-resource settings.
A cross-sectional study to quantify the prevalence of avian influenza viruses in poultry at intervention and non-intervention live bird markets in central Vietnam, 2014
In Vietnam, live bird markets are found in most populated centres, providing the means by which fresh poultry can be purchased by consumers for immediate consumption. Live bird markets are aggregation points for large numbers of poultry, and therefore, it is common for a range of avian influenza viruses to be mixed within live bird markets as a result of different poultry types and species being brought together from different geographical locations. We conducted a cross-sectional study in seven live bird markets in four districts of Thua Thien Hue Province in August and December, 2014. The aims of this study were to (i) document the prevalence of avian influenza in live bird markets (as measured by virus isolation); and (ii) quantify individual bird-, seller- and market-level characteristics that rendered poultry more likely to be positive for avian influenza virus at the time of sale. A questionnaire soliciting details of knowledge, attitude and avian influenza practices was administered to poultry sellers in study markets. At the same time, swabs and faecal samples were collected from individual poultry and submitted for isolation of avian influenza virus. The final data set comprised samples from 1,629 birds from 83 sellers in the seven live bird markets. A total of 113 birds were positive for virus isolation; a prevalence of 6.9 (95% CI 5.8-8.3) avian influenza virus-positive birds per 100 birds submitted for sale. After adjusting for clustering at the market and individual seller levels, none of the explanatory variables solicited in the questionnaire were significantly associated with avian influenza virus isolation positivity. The proportions of variance at the individual market, seller and individual bird levels were 6%, 48% and 46%, respectively. We conclude that the emphasis of avian influenza control efforts in Vietnam should be at the individual seller level as opposed to the market level.
Analysis of Ca2+ mediated signaling regulating Toxoplasma infectivity reveals complex relationships between key molecules
Host cell invasion, exit and parasite dissemination is critical to the pathogenesis of apicomplexan parasites such as Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium spp. These processes are regulated by intracellular Ca2+ signaling although the temporal dynamics of Ca2+ fluxes and down-stream second messenger pathways are poorly understood. Here, we use a genetically encoded biosensor, GFP-Calmodulin-M13-6 (GCaMP6), to capture Ca2+ flux in live Toxoplasma and investigate the role of Ca2+ signaling in egress and motility. Our analysis determines how environmental cues and signal activation influence intracellular Ca2+ flux, allowing placement of effector molecules within this pathway. Importantly, we have identified key interrelationships between cGMP and Ca2+ signaling that are required for activation of egress and motility. Furthermore, we extend this analysis to show that the Ca2+ Dependent Protein Kinases-TgCDPK1 and TgCDPK3-play a role in signal quenching before egress. This work highlights the interrelationships of second messenger pathways of Toxoplasma in space and time, which is likely required for pathogenesis of all apicomplexan species.
Reservoir-host amplification of disease impact in an endangered amphibian
Emerging wildlife pathogens are an increasing threat to biodiversity. One of the most serious wildlife diseases is chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has been documented in over 500 amphibian species. Amphibians vary greatly in their susceptibility to Bd; some species tolerate infection, whereas others experience rapid mortality. Reservoir hosts-species that carry infection while maintaining high abundance but are rarely killed by disease-can increase extinction risk in highly susceptible, sympatric species. However, whether reservoir hosts amplify Bd in declining amphibian species has not been examined. We investigated the role of reservoir hosts in the decline of the threatened northern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne pengilleyi) in an amphibian community in southeastern Australia. In the laboratory, we characterized the response of a potential reservoir host, the (nondeclining) common eastern froglet (Crinia signifera), to Bd infection. In the field, we conducted frog abundance surveys and Bd sampling for both P. pengilleyi and C. signifera. We built multinomial logistic regression models to test whether Crinia signifera and environmental factors were associated with P. pengilleyi decline. C. signifera was a reservoir host for Bd. In the laboratory, many individuals maintained intense infections (>1000 zoospore equivalents) over 12 weeks without mortality, and 79% of individuals sampled in the wild also carried infections. The presence of C. signifera at a site was strongly associated with increased Bd prevalence in sympatric P. pengilleyi. Consistent with disease amplification by a reservoir host, P. pengilleyi declined at sites with high C. signifera abundance. Our results suggest that when reservoir hosts are present, population declines of susceptible species may continue long after the initial emergence of Bd, highlighting an urgent need to assess extinction risk in remnant populations of other declined amphibian species.
Fatal cases of bovine anaplasmosis in a herd infected with different Anaplasma marginale genotypes in Southern Spain
(Elsevier BV, 2022-01)
The genus Anaplasma contains various species capable of causing disease in animals and humans. Anaplasma marginale is one of the main tick-borne pathogens of bovines in tropical and subtropical regions; however, these bacteria are now being detected more frequently in other regions of the world including Europe. In July 2017, abortions, mortality and morbidity in Retinta breed of cattle were investigated in southwestern Spain. Based on clinical signs, the provisional clinical diagnosis of bovine anaplasmosis was made. A molecular-phylogenetic approach was used to characterize A. marginale using multiple markers, including 16S rRNA, msp1a, msp4 and msp5 genes. The msp1α sequence was different from the previously described sequences from Spain as well as other countries. The isolates of A. marginale were classified as Genotype C, with two of the five tandem repeats in the amino acid sequences MSP1α being novel. The highest variability was observed in the four sequences of msp5 which was depicted in their clustering into multiple clades on a phylogenetic tree. Comparison of msp5 nucleotide sequences and the corresponding amino acid sequences revealed the co-existence of different strains in the same region. This study highlights the occurrence of clinical bovine anaplasmosis in an endemic region of Spain.
The antiepileptic medications carbamazepine and phenytoin inhibit native sodium currents in murine osteoblasts
OBJECTIVE: Fracture risk is a serious comorbidity in epilepsy and may relate to the use of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Many AEDs inhibit ion channel function, and the expression of these channels in osteoblasts raises the question of whether altered bone signaling increases bone fragility. We aimed to confirm the expression of voltage-gated sodium (NaV ) channels in mouse osteoblasts, and to investigate the action of carbamazepine and phenytoin on NaV channels. METHODS: Immunocytochemistry was performed on primary calvarial osteoblasts extracted from neonatal C57BL/6J mice and additional RNA sequencing (RNASeq) was included to confirm expression of NaV . Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were made to identify the native currents expressed and to assess the actions of carbamazepine (50 μm) or phenytoin (50 μm). RESULTS: NaV expression was demonstrated with immunocytochemistry, RNA sequencing, and functionally, with demonstration of robust tetrodotoxin-sensitive and voltage-activated inward currents. Application of carbamazepine or phenytoin resulted in significant inhibition of current amplitude for carbamazepine (31.6 ± 5.9%, n = 9; p < 0.001), and for phenytoin (35.5 ± 6.9%, n = 7; p < 0.001). SIGNIFICANCE: Mouse osteoblasts express NaV , and native NaV currents are blocked by carbamazepine and phenytoin, supporting our hypothesis that AEDs can directly influence osteoblast function and potentially affect bone strength.
Epidemiological Study of Lumpy Skin Disease Outbreaks in North-western Iran
Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is a highly contagious transboundary disease of cattle with major economic losses. This study was undertaken to address the emergence and epidemiological features of LSD in four north-western provinces of Iran. These provinces have extensive borders with others country including Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia. A population of 683 cattle from 91 farms were examined during LSD outbreak in Iran during 2014-2016. The information of the farms including the population size, gender, age, vaccination status, clinical signs and the number of death because of LSD were recorded in the designed questionnaires. A number of 234 blood samples were collected randomly from animals with and without clinical signs of LSD. DNA was extracted from blood samples, and they were used for amplifying a fragment of 434 bp in size coupled with restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) for molecular detection of lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV). The estimated prevalence, cumulative mortality and case fatality were 17.9%, 3.5% and 19.7%, respectively. There was no significant difference in occurrence of the disease between male and female cattle. LSD occurrence in age groups above 5 years old and below 6 months old showed highest and lowest relative frequencies, respectively. Vaccination was significantly decreased the occurrence of clinical disease. The developed PCR-RFLP technique was able to differentiate between LSDV, sheep pox virus (ShPV) and goat pox virus (GPV). It was concluded that LSD was entered into Iran probably from Iraq via uncontrolled animal movements along common land borders between two countries. Developed PCR-RFLP could be used as a rapid and inexpensive method for differentiating Capripoxviruses (CaPVs).
Can heat-killed Gordonia bronchialis enhance growth and immunity in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)?
In this study, the efficacy of heatâ killed Gordonia bronchialis on growth performance, immune system and gastrointestinal structure in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) was evaluated. Fish (mean weight 30Â g) were fed basal diet (control), or treatment diets containing 2.48Â Ã Â 10â ¸ (low dose) or 1.24Â Ã Â 10â ¹ (high dose) cellsÂ kgâ »Â¹ feed of heatâ killed G.Â bronchialis on a pulse basis (5Â days on treatment diet; 10Â days on basal diet) for 95Â days. On days 95 and 105, some of the fish were sampled for analysis of mentioned parameters. On days 110 and 120, the remaining fish were injected intraperitoneally with a 20Â mLÂ Lâ »Â¹ suspension of chicken red blood cells. Results showed that growth performance was significantly enhanced in both treatment groups compared with the control group. Serum complement and lysozyme activities and hemagglutination antibody titre were higher in both treatment groups compared with the control group. The length of the intestinal and pyloric caeca folds was increased in the highâ dose group. Meanwhile, the number of goblet cells was increased in both treatment groups. This study suggests that heatâ killed G.Â bronchialis has the potential to enhance growth, immunological parameters and the gastrointestinal structure in rainbow trout.
High adult mortality in disease-challenged frog populations increases vulnerability to drought
Pathogen emergence can drive major changes in host population demography, with implications for population dynamics and sensitivity to environmental fluctuations. The amphibian disease chytridiomycosis, caused by infection with the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is implicated in the severe decline of over 200 amphibian species. In species that have declined but not become extinct, Bd persists and can cause substantial ongoing mortality. High rates of mortality associated with Bd may drive major changes in host demography, but this process is poorly understood. Here, we compared population age structure of Bd-infected populations, Bd-free populations and museum specimens collected prior to Bd emergence for the endangered Australian frog, Litoria verreauxii alpina (alpine tree frog). We then used population simulations to investigate how pathogen-associated demographic shifts affect the ability of populations to persist in stochastic environments. We found that Bd-infected populations have a severely truncated age structure associated with very high rates of annual adult mortality. Near-complete annual adult turnover in Bd-infected populations means that individuals breed once, compared with Bd-free populations where adults may breed across multiple years. Our simulations showed that truncated age structure erodes the capacity of populations to withstand periodic recruitment failure; a common challenge for species reproducing in uncertain environments. We document previously undescribed demographic shifts associated with a globally emerging pathogen and demonstrate how these shifts alter host ecology. Truncation of age structure associated with Bd effectively reduces host niche width and can help explain the contraction of L. v. alpina to perennial waterbodies where the risk of drought-induced recruitment failure is low. Reduced capacity to tolerate other sources of mortality may explain variation in decline severity among other chytridiomycosis-challenged species and highlights the potential to mitigate disease impacts through minimizing other sources of mortality.
Evidence for marsh mallow (Malva parviflora) toxicosis causing myocardial disease and myopathy in four horses
REASON FOR PERFORMING THE STUDY: Investigation of toxicosis caused by Malva parviflora was required after 4 horses from the same farm developed severe muscle fasciculations, tachycardia, sweating and periods of recumbency leading to death or euthanasia after ingesting the plant. OBJECTIVES: To describe historical, clinical, clinicopathological and pathological findings of 4 horses with suspected M. parviflora toxicosis. The role of cyclopropene fatty acids (found in M. parviflora) and mechanism for toxicosis are proposed. STUDY DESIGN: Case series. METHODS: Historical, physical examination, clinicopathological and pathological findings are reported. Due to similarities with atypical myopathy or seasonal pasture myopathy acyl carnitine profiles were performed on sera from 2 cases and equine controls. Presence of cyclopropene fatty acids was also examined in sera of 2 cases. RESULTS: M. parviflora had been heavily grazed by the horses with little other feed available. Horse 1 deteriorated rapidly and was subjected to euthanasia. Horse 2 was referred to hospital where severe myocardial disease and generalised myopathy was determined; this horse was subjected to euthanasia 36 h after admission. Horse 3 died rapidly and Horse 4 was subjected to euthanasia at onset of clinical signs. Post-mortem examinations performed on 3 horses revealed acute, multifocal cardiac and skeletal myonecrosis. Myocyte glycogen accumulation was absent when examined in Horse 2. Acyl carnitine profiles revealed increased C14-C18 acyl carnitine concentrations in cases relative to controls. Cyclopropene fatty acids were detected in sera of cases but not controls. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest aetiology different to that of atypical myopathy or seasonal pasture myopathy. We hypothesise that cyclopropene fatty acids in M. parviflora interfere with fatty acid β-oxidation in horses in negative energy balance, causing the clinical signs and abnormal acyl carnitine profiles. These equine cases suggest a pathophysiological course that closely mimics the human genetic condition very long chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase deficiency.
The cardiopulmonary effects and quality of anesthesia after induction with alfaxalone in 2-hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin in dogs and cats: a systematic review
To systematically review the quality of evidence comparing the cardiopulmonary effects and quality of anesthesia after induction with alfaxalone vs. other anesthetic agents in dogs and cats. Studies published from 2001 until 20th May 2013 were identified with the terms 'alfaxan' OR 'alfaxalone' OR 'alphaxalone' in electronic databases: Discovery, PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Wiley Interscience. The study design and risk of bias of all included studies were assessed. Twenty-two studies from 408 (22 of 408, 5.39%) satisfied the inclusion criteria. Fourteen studies (14 of 22, 64%) focused on dogs and nine (9 of 22, 40%) on cats. One study had both dogs and cats as subjects. (Hunt et al., 2013) Twelve studies were rated an LOE1, and six of these as ROB1. One, seven, and two studies were rated as LOE2, LOE3, and LOE5, respectively. In dogs, strong evidence shows that induction quality with either alfaxalone-HPCD or propofol is smooth. Moderate evidence supports this finding in cats. In dogs, moderate evidence shows that there is no significant change in heart rate after induction with either alfaxalone-HPCD or propofol. In cats, moderate evidence shows no significant difference in postinduction respiratory rate and heart rate between alfaxalone-HPCD and propofol induction. Strong evidence shows dogs and cats have smooth recoveries after induction using either alfaxalone-HPCD or propofol, before reaching sternal recumbency.
Endemicity of chytridiomycosis features pathogen overdispersion
Pathogens can be critical drivers of the abundance and distribution of wild animal populations. The presence of an overdispersed pathogen load distribution between hosts (where few hosts harbour heavy parasite burdens and light infections are common) can have an important stabilizing effect on host-pathogen dynamics where infection intensity determines pathogenicity. This may potentially lead to endemicity of an introduced pathogen rather than extirpation of the host and/or pathogen. Overdispersed pathogen load distributions have rarely been considered in wild animal populations as an important component of the infection dynamics of microparasites such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi. Here we examined the abundance, distribution and transmission of the model fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd, cause of amphibian chytridiomycosis) between wild-caught Litoria rheocola (common mist frogs) to investigate the effects of an overdispersed pathogen load distribution on the host population in the wild. We quantified host survival, infection incidence and recovery probabilities relative to infectious burden, and compared the results of models where pathogen overdispersion either was or was not considered an important feature of host-pathogen dynamics. We found the distribution of Bd load between hosts to be highly overdispersed. We found that host survival was related to infection burden and that accounting for pathogen overdispersion allowed us to better understand infection dynamics and their implications for disease control. In addition, we found that the pattern of host infections and recoveries varied markedly with season whereby (i) infections established more in winter, consistent with temperature-dependent effects on fungal growth, and (ii) recoveries (loss of infection) occurred frequently in the field throughout the year but were less likely in winter. Our results suggest that pathogen overdispersion is an important feature of endemic chytridiomycosis and that intensity of infection determines disease impact. These findings have important implications for our understanding of chytridiomycosis dynamics and the application of management strategies for disease mitigation. We recommend quantifying individual infectious burdens rather than infection state where possible in microparasitic diseases.
Filling the out of season gaps for lamb and hogget production: Diet and genetic influence on carcass yield, carcass composition and retail value of meat
This study investigated the use of camelina forage and meal supplementation to a finishing diet on carcass traits, composition and retail value of lamb and hoggets. The metabolisable energy and crude protein concentrations of all 3 diets were 10–11 MJ/kg DM and 14–15% CP. Thirty maternal Composite wether lambs (28–38 kg) and 30 Merino wether hoggets (37–43 kg) were used in a 3 × 2 factorial experiment. Animals were slaughtered after 10 weeks of feeding with carcasses classified as ‘Heavy lamb’ or ‘Heavy hogget’ (>22 kg carcass weight). Carcass traits, composition, meat mineral concentrations and retail colour were measured. Camelina diets increased liveweight (P < 0.02) and carcass weight (P < 0.002) for both sheep types. Carcass weight (P < 0.005) and dressing % (P < 0.01) were lower for Merino hoggets than Composite lambs. Mineral concentration and retail colour stability of fresh meat were unaffected by diet, with 72 h retail colour considered acceptable for consumers.
Evaluation of the Control Strategy for the 2010 Foot-and-Mouth Disease Outbreak in Japan Using Disease Simulation
In 2010, Japan experienced a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) epidemic where 292 premises were infected over a period of 75 days. The epidemic was controlled by stamping-out and vaccination, applied 5 weeks after the first confirmation of disease within a 10 km radius of identified infected places. This study aimed at identifying the role of emergency vaccination to epidemic control while adjusting for the dynamic pattern of local spread, and assessing alternative vaccination strategies, using a disease simulation model. Our results indicate that the overall hazard of local spread remained high throughout the silent spread phase and the first two weeks post-detection, with significant reduction occurring from week 3 onwards. The estimated effectiveness of emergency vaccination quantified as reduction in the hazard of infection was at most 81% and 44% for cattle and pig farms, respectively. The vaccination strategy reduced the simulated median number of IPs by 22%, epidemic duration by 64% and culling duration by 52%, but increased the total number of infected or vaccinated premises subject to culling by 144% compared with no vaccination. The simulation indicated that vaccination starting 2 weeks earlier (3 weeks post-first detection) with a smaller vaccination radius (3 km) was more effective for eradication of the epidemic compared with the actually implemented strategy.
High-quality reference genome for Clonorchis sinensis
(ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE, 2021-05-01)
The Chinese liver fluke, Clonorchis sinensis, causes the disease clonorchiasis, affecting ~35 million people in regions of China, Vietnam, Korea and the Russian Far East. Chronic clonorchiasis causes cholangitis and can induce a malignant cancer, called cholangiocarcinoma, in the biliary system. Control in endemic regions is challenging, and often relies largely on chemotherapy with one anthelmintic, called praziquantel. Routine treatment carries a significant risk of inducing resistance to this anthelmintic in the fluke, such that the discovery of new interventions is considered important. It is hoped that the use of molecular technologies will assist this endeavour by enabling the identification of drug or vaccine targets involved in crucial biological processes and/or pathways in the parasite. Although draft genomes of C. sinensis have been published, their assemblies are fragmented. In the present study, we tackle this genome fragmentation issue by utilising, in an integrated way, advanced (second- and third-generation) DNA sequencing and informatic approaches to build a high-quality reference genome for C. sinensis, with chromosome-level contiguity and curated gene models. This substantially-enhanced genome provides a resource that could accelerate fundamental and applied molecular investigations of C. sinensis, clonorchiasis and/or cholangiocarcinoma, and assist in the discovery of new interventions against what is a highly significant, but neglected disease-complex.
Phylogenetic relationships of the nematode subfamily Phascolostrongylinae from macropodid and vombatid marsupials inferred using mitochondrial protein sequence data
BACKGROUND: The subfamily Phascolostrongylinae (Superfamily Strongyloidea) comprises nematodes that are parasitic in the gastrointestinal tracts of macropodid (Family Macropodidae) and vombatid (Family Vombatidae) marsupials. Currently, nine genera and 20 species have been attributed to the subfamily Phascolostrongylinae. Previous studies using sequence data sets for the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of nuclear ribosomal DNA showed conflicting topologies between the Phascolostrongylinae and related subfamilies. Therefore, the aim of this study was to validate the phylogenetic relationships within the Phascolostrongylinae and its relationship with the families Chabertiidae and Strongylidae using mitochondrial amino acid sequences. METHODS: The sequences of all 12 mitochondrial protein-coding genes were obtained by next-generation sequencing of individual adult nematodes (n = 8) representing members of the Phascolostrongylinae. These sequences were conceptually translated and the phylogenetic relationships within the Phascolostrongylinae and its relationship with the families Chabertiidae and Strongylidae were inferred from aligned, concatenated amino acid sequence data sets. RESULTS: Within the Phascolostrongylinae, the wombat-specific genera grouped separately from the genera occurring in macropods. Two of the phascolostrongyline tribes were monophyletic, including Phascolostrongylinea and Hypodontinea, whereas the tribe Macropostrongyloidinea was paraphyletic. The tribe Phascolostrongylinea occurring in wombats was closely related to Oesophagostomum spp., also from the family Chabertiidae, which formed a sister relationship with the Phascolostrongylinae. CONCLUSION: The current phylogenetic relationship within the subfamily Phascolostrongylinae supports findings from a previous study based on ITS sequence data. This study contributes also to the understanding of the phylogenetic position of the subfamily Phascolostrongylinae within the Chabertiidae. Future studies investigating the relationships between the Phascolostrongylinae and Cloacininae from macropodid marsupials may advance our knowledge of the phylogeny of strongyloid nematodes in marsupials.
Phylogenetic and molecular analysis based on genes 16S-rRNA, OMPA and POMP to identify Chlamydia abortus infection occurrence at the milk samples of goats and sheep in west Azerbaijan of Iran.
(Knowledge E, 2021-08)
Background and Objectives: Enzootic abortion in sheep and goats, also called ovine enzootic abortion (OEA) or enzootic abortion of ewes (EAE), is caused by Chlamydia abortus. The disease has a major economic impact as it represents the most important cause of lamb loss in sheep in parts of Europe, North America and Africa. This serious and potentially life-threatening zoonosis can also affect pregnant women after contact with lambing ewes, leading to severe febrile illness in pregnancy and loss of the foetus. Materials and Methods: The present study was conducted to the Phylogenetic and Molecular Analysis based on Genes 16S-rRNA, OmpA and POMP of C. abortus in milk samples collected from sheep and goats in West Azerbaijan province, Iran. During 2018, a total number of 360 milk samples were collected from sheep (n = 180) and goats (n = 180) of different regions of the province. All milk samples were subjected to DNA extraction and examined by PCR. Results: Among 360 milk samples collected from sheep and goats, 31 (8.611%; 95% CI=6.13-11.96) were positive for Chlamydia spp. The helicase, 16S-rRNA and ompA genes were examined and resulted in 8, 31, 31 of positive samples respectively. The accession numbers have been deposited in GenBank (NCBI) (MT367602 and MT367603). Conclusion: Phylogenetic analysis based on the gene of helicase showed that most of the isolates shared similarity > 99.97%.
Harnessing model organism genomics to underpin the machine learning-based prediction of essential genes in eukaryotes - Biotechnological implications.
(Elsevier BV, 2021-08-27)
The availability of high-quality genomes and advances in functional genomics have enabled large-scale studies of essential genes in model eukaryotes, including the 'elegant worm' (Caenorhabditis elegans; Nematoda) and the 'vinegar fly' (Drosophila melanogaster; Arthropoda). However, this is not the case for other, much less-studied organisms, such as socioeconomically important parasites, for which functional genomic platforms usually do not exist. Thus, there is a need to develop innovative techniques or approaches for the prediction, identification and investigation of essential genes. A key approach that could enable the prediction of such genes is machine learning (ML). Here, we undertake an historical review of experimental and computational approaches employed for the characterisation of essential genes in eukaryotes, with a particular focus on model ecdysozoans (C. elegans and D. melanogaster), and discuss the possible applicability of ML-approaches to organisms such as socioeconomically important parasites. We highlight some recent results showing that high-performance ML, combined with feature engineering, allows a reliable prediction of essential genes from extensive, publicly available 'omic data sets, with major potential to prioritise such genes (with statistical confidence) for subsequent functional genomic validation. These findings could 'open the door' to fundamental and applied research areas. Evidence of some commonality in the essential gene-complement between these two organisms indicates that an ML-engineering approach could find broader applicability to ecdysozoans such as parasitic nematodes or arthropods, provided that suitably large and informative data sets become/are available for proper feature engineering, and for the robust training and validation of algorithms. This area warrants detailed exploration to, for example, facilitate the identification and characterisation of essential molecules as novel targets for drugs and vaccines against parasitic diseases. This focus is particularly important, given the substantial impact that such diseases have worldwide, and the current challenges associated with their prevention and control and with drug resistance in parasite populations.
Immunodiagnostic usefulness of monoclonal antibodies specific to conformational epitopes of Taenia solium oncosphere protein TSOL18
Taenia solium oncosphere protein TSOL18 is the host-protective antigen against porcine cysticercosis. Little attention has been given to use it as target molecule in immunodiagnostic tests. The objective of this paper is to describe the immunodiagnostic potential of monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs) raised against conformational epitopes of TSOL18. Three murine IgG1 MoAbs (25D12C1, 21C2D2, 10H1F2) against three different conformational epitopes of TSOL18 were produced and evaluated with an inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (i-ELISA) for the detection of anti-TSOL18 and anti-oncosphere antibodies. Serum samples from pigs immunized with TSOL18 inhibited the binding of the three MoAbs to TSOL18 antigen in i-ELISA. The highest inhibition of anti-TSOL18 antibodies in immunized pigs was observed with MoAb 25D12C1. Ten field sera (12.19%) from 82 non-vaccinated and non-infected pigs showed anti-oncosphere antibodies inhibiting the binding of MoAb 25D12C1. Anti-oncosphere antibodies in pigs experimentally infected with T. solium eggs inhibited the binding of MoAb 25D12C1 from 2 to 8 week-post infection. It is concluded that MoAb 25D12C1 has excellent immunodiagnostic potentials to detect anti-oncosphere antibodies in the intermediate hosts at early exposure to T. solium eggs. Further investigations on potential use of MoAb 25D12C1 in a capture antigen ELISA for the detection of post-oncospheral antigens in infected pigs cannot be overemphasized.
Multimodal regulation of encystation in Giardia duodenalis revealed by deep proteomics
(ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2021-09-01)
Cyst formation in the parasitic protist Giardia duodenalis is critical to its transmission. Existing proteomic data quantifies only 17% of coding genes transcribed during encystation and does not cover the complete process from trophozoite to mature cyst. Using high-resolution mass spectrometry, we have quantified proteomic changes across encystation and compared this with published transcriptomic data. We reproducibly identified 3863 (64.5% of Giardia proteins) and quantified 3382 proteins (56.5% of Giardia proteins) over standard trophozoite growth (TY), during low-bile encystation priming (LB), 16 h into encystation (EC), and at cyst maturation (C). This work provides the first known expanded observation of encystation at the proteomic level and triples the coverage of previous encystation proteomes. One-third (1169 proteins) of the quantified proteome is differentially expressed in the mature cyst relative to the trophozoite, including proteasomal machinery, metabolic pathways, and secretory proteins. Changes in lipid metabolism indicated a shift in lipid species dependency during encystation. Consistent with this, we identified the first, putative lipid transporters in this species, representing the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein-related lipid transfer (StARkin), oxysterol binding protein related protein (ORP/Osh) and glycosphingolipid transfer protein (GLTP) families, and follow their differential expression over cyst formation. Lastly, we undertook correlation analyses of the transcriptome and proteome of trophozoites and cysts, and found evidence of post-transcriptional regulation of key protein classes (RNA binding proteins) and stage-specific genes (encystation markers) implicating translation-repression in encystation. We provide the most extensive proteomic analysis of encystation in Giardia to date and the first known exploration across its complete duration. This work identifies encystation as highly coordinated, involving major changes in proteostasis, metabolism and membrane dynamics, and indicates a potential role for post-transcriptional regulation, mediated through RNA-binding proteins. Together our work provides a valuable resource for Giardia research and the development of transmission-blocking anti-giardials.
Detection of six soil-transmitted helminths in human stool by qPCR- a systematic workflow.
(Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2021)
Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) infect up to one-quarter of the global population, with a significant associated disease burden. The main human STH are: Ancylostoma spp. and Necator americanus (hookworms); Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, and Strongyloides stercoralis. The aim of this study was to establish a scalable system for stool STH multiplex quantitative real-time polymerase chain reactions (qPCR). Stool samples collected in Fiji and preserved in potassium dichromate were transferred to Melbourne at ambient temperature. Samples were washed to remove potassium dichromate and DNA was extracted with the Mini-Beadbeater-24 and a column-based kit. A SYBR green qPCR to detect the vertebrate mitochondrial gene was used as a DNA extraction control. Samples were tested using a probe-based multiplex qPCR targeting A. lumbricoides, T. trichiura and S. stercoralis, and in a second multiplex reaction to detect hookworms to the species level (A. duodenale, A. ceylanicum, N. americanus). An internal amplification control in both multiplex assays was included to prevent false-negative results due to PCR inhibitors. Samples were homogenised for a single cycle of 40 seconds to release STH DNA and washed stool was stored for up to 15 weeks at -30°C without compromising DNA. Our multiplex qPCR detected multiple species of STH without reduced sensitivity compared to singleplex. qPCR data from 40 stools was validated against STH-positive stools determined by microscopy. We have developed and validated an efficient and staged system for detecting six clinically important STH affecting humans that could be easily implemented without advanced automation in any qPCR-capable laboratory.
Drivers of exit and outcomes for Thoroughbred racehorses participating in the 2017-2018 Australian racing season.
(Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2021)
The destinations of Thoroughbred (TB) racehorses exiting the racing industry is a high-profile issue with ethical and welfare implications of interest to both animal welfare groups and racing regulators. This cross-sectional study investigated the reasons that TBs temporarily or permanently exited racing and training in Australia in the 2017-2018 racing season and the outcomes for these horses post-racing. An online questionnaire was sent to the last registered trainers of a representative sample of 2,509 'inactive' TBs. Inactive horses were defined as those horses that were recorded as 'active' but had not trialled or raced in the last 6 months of the racing season or had an inactive status recorded in the Racing Australia database. Of the 1,750 responses received, the largest group of inactive TBs had permanently exited the racing industry (45% retired, 5.3% deceased). A relatively large group exited racing temporarily (43%) but participated in the racing industry in the following season. The reasons for retirement were predominantly voluntary, such as poor performance or owner's request. Almost one third of retirements were due to injuries with tendon or ligament problems the most frequently conditions listed. The median age at retirement was five (Q1 4; Q3 7) years. Extrapolation of the survey results to the population of horses racing or training in Australia in 2017-2018 (n = 37,750) show that that 17% of the population retire each year and 2.1% die. These estimates provide benchmarks for industry and animal welfare organisations to resource and measure the effectiveness of interventions.
High Throughput Screening of the NatureBank 'Marine Collection' in a Haemonchus Bioassay Identifies Anthelmintic Activity in Extracts from a Range of Sponges from Australian Waters
Widespread resistance in parasitic nematodes to most classes of anthelmintic drugs demands the discovery and development of novel compounds with distinct mechanisms of action to complement strategic or integrated parasite control programs. Products from nature-which assume a diverse 'chemical space'-have significant potential as a source of anthelmintic compounds. In the present study, we screened a collection of extracts (n = 7616) derived from marine invertebrates sampled from Australian waters in a high throughput bioassay for in vitro anti-parasitic activity against the barber's pole worm (Haemonchus contortus)-an economically important parasitic nematode of livestock animals. In this high throughput screen (HTS), we identified 58 active extracts that reduced larval motility by ≥70% (at 90 h), equating to an overall 'hit rate' of ~0.8%. Of these 58 extracts, 16 also inhibited larval development by ≥80% (at 168 h) and/or induced 'non-wild-type' (abnormal) larval phenotypes with reference to 'wild-type' (normal) larvae not exposed to extract (negative controls). Most active extracts (54 of 58) originated from sponges, three from chordates (tunicates) and one from a coral; these extracts represented 37 distinct species/taxa of 23 families. An analysis of samples by 1H NMR fingerprinting was utilised to dereplicate hits and to prioritise a set of 29 sponge samples for future chemical investigation. Overall, these results indicate that a range of sponge species from Australian waters represents a rich source of natural compounds with nematocidal or nematostatic properties. Our plan now is to focus on in-depth chemical investigations of the sample set prioritised herein.
Estimating koala density from incidental koala sightings in South-East Queensland, Australia (1997-2013), using a self-exciting spatio-temporal point process model.
The koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, is an iconic Australian wildlife species facing a rapid decline in South-East Queensland (SEQLD). For conservation planning, the ability to estimate the size of koala populations is crucial. Systematic surveys are the most common approach to estimate koala populations but because of their cost they are often restricted to small geographic areas and are conducted infrequently. Public interest and participation in the collection of koala sighting data is increasing in popularity, but such data are generally not used for population estimation. We modeled monthly sightings of koalas reported by members of the public from 1997 to 2013 in SEQLD by developing a self-exciting spatio-temporal point process model. This allowed us to account for characteristics that are associated with koala presence (which vary over both space and time) while accounting for detection bias in the koala sighting process and addressing spatial clustering of observations. The density of koalas varied spatially due to the heterogeneous nature of koala habitat in SEQLD, with a mean density of 0.0019 koalas per km2 over the study period. The percentage of land areas with very low densities (0-0.0005 koalas per km2) remained similar throughout the study period representing, on average, 66% of the total study area. The approach described in this paper provides a useful starting point to allow greater use to be made of incidental koala sighting data. We propose that the model presented here could be used to combine systematic koala survey data (which is spatially restricted, but more precise) with koala sighting data (which is incidental and often biased by nature, but often collected over large geographical areas). Our approach could also be adopted for modeling the density of other wildlife species where data is collected in the same manner.
Infection of Slugs with Theronts of the Ciliate Protozoan, Tetrahymena rostrata
Tetrahymena rostrata is a free-living ciliated protozoan and is a facultative parasite of some species of terrestrial mollusks. It is a potential biopesticide of pest slugs, such as the grey field slug, which cause considerable damage to crops. T. rostrata has several developmental forms. Homogeneous preparations of the feeding stage cells (trophonts) and excysted stage cells (theronts) were compared for their ability to infect and kill Deroceras reticulatum slugs. Theronts were more effective and remained viable and infective, even after prolonged starvation.
The mitogenome of Halotydeus destructor (Tucker) and its relationships with other trombidiform mites as inferred from nucleotide sequences and gene arrangements
The redlegged earth mite, Halotydeus destructor (Tucker, 1925: Trombidiformes, Eupodoidea, Penthaleidae), is an invasive mite species. In Australia, this mite has become a pest of winter pastures and grain crops. We report the complete mitogenome for H. destructor, the first to represent the family Penthaleidae, superfamily Eupodoidea. The mitogenome of H. destructor is 14,691 bp in size, and has a GC content of 27.87%, 13 protein-coding genes, two rRNA genes, and 22 tRNA genes. We explored evolutionary relationships of H. destructor with other members of the Trombidiformes using phylogenetic analyses of nucleotide sequences and the order of protein-coding and rRNA genes. We found strong, consistent support for the superfamily Tydeoidea being the sister taxon to the superfamily Eupodoidea based on nucleotide sequences and gene arrangements. Moreover, the gene arrangements of Eupodoidea and Tydeoidea are not only identical to each other but also identical to that of the hypothesized arthropod ancestor, showing a high level of conservatism in the mitogenomic structure of these mite superfamilies. Our study illustrates the utility of gene arrangements for providing complementary information to nucleotide sequences with respect to inferring the evolutionary relationships of species within the order Trombidiformes. The mitogenome of H. destructor provides a valuable resource for further population genetic studies of this important agricultural pest. Given the co-occurrence of closely related, morphologically similar Penthaleidae mites with H. destructor in the field, a complete mitogenome provides new opportunities to develop metabarcoding tools to study mite diversity in agro-ecosystems. Moreover, the H. destructor mitogenome fills an important taxonomic gap that will facilitate further study of trombidiform mite evolution.
The effects of parasitism on ewes for prime lamb production in western Victoria
(CSIRO PUBLISHING, 2021-08-03)
Context Internal parasites are estimated to cost the Australian sheep industry AUD436 million per annum (p.a.). Aims To assess the effects of parasitism in flocks producing prime lambs in the 500–700 mm p.a rainfall. area of Victoria. Methods Ewes on two farms that followed ‘best practice’ gastrointestinal parasite control programs (BP) and two farms that did not (regionally typical, TYP) were compared. Separate cohorts of ewes were monitored from pregnancy scanning to their subsequent joining each year for three consecutive seasons. Observations included worm egg count (WEC), bodyweight, condition score and presence of breech soiling (dag). These were compared between groups that were treated to suppress parasitism (SUP) and those treated according to the usual program used on that farm (NSUP). Data from individual ewes were analysed using a multivariable, mixed-effects regression model. Key results After adjusting for known confounders, SUP ewes were 1.2 (95% CI 0.80–1.6) kg heavier than NSUP ewes. Mature SUP ewes were significantly heavier than NSUP ewes at their next joining on 6 of 18 occasions, mostly following winters when ewes experienced nutritional stress. Ewe hoggets and Merino ewes were generally more susceptible to parasitism than mature non-Merino ewes; single-bearing ewes were less susceptible than those bearing twins. The effects of parasitism were reduced when peri-parturient ewes had an optimal condition score and grazed adequate pastures. Conclusions Ewes were more vulnerable to parasitism when immature, twin-bearing, or under nutritional stress. Some of the greatest differences between SUP and NSUP ewes occurred following periods of low feed availability and/or ewe condition score. The difference between the mean bodyweight of SUP and NSUP Merinos was not always greater than that of the non-Merinos. WECs are not a sole reliable indicator of the effects of parasitism in this class of sheep. Implications Immature or twin-bearing ewes, and those in suboptimal body condition, should be managed considering their increased vulnerability to parasitism, and WEC interpreted alongside other factors. Controlled release capsules were not cost effective in reducing production loss from gastrointestinal nematodes in most years but may be effective in reducing the effects of clinical parasitism in some cases.
Shapes of pathology1
(REVISTA PESQUISA VETERINARIA BRASILEIRA, 2021-01-01)
ABSTRACT: The shape is one of the key features of a lesion and a pathologist must be able to identify and interpret these forms in the context of any gross and microscopic changes. One of the principles of adult learning is to engage the learner with previously understood information. If, when presenting material that is new, a connection with something the student already has familiarity with, the learning process is accelerated. As the learners are already familiar with shapes they have encountered throughout their pre-pathology learning, these can be used to hasten the incorporation and understanding of lesions. This paper describes various shapes that are used in describing lesions in veterinary pathology.
Zoonotic Soil-Transmitted Helminths in Free-Roaming Dogs, Kiribati
(CENTERS DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION, 2021-08-01)
Soil-transmitted helminths are highly prevalent in the Asia-Pacific region. We report a 96.5% prevalence of zoonotic soil-transmitted helminths in dogs in Kiribati. We advocate for urgent implementation of treatment and prevention programs for these zoonotic pathogens, in line with the Kiribati-World Health Organization Cooperation Strategy 2018-2022.
The tubulin repertoire of C. elegans sensory neurons and its context-dependent role in process outgrowth.
(American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), 2016-09-21)
Microtubules contribute to many cellular processes, including transport, signaling, and chromosome separation during cell division (Kapitein and Hoogenraad, 2015). They are comprised of αβ-tubulin heterodimers arranged into linear protofilaments and assembled into tubes. Eukaryotes express multiple tubulin isoforms (Gogonea et al., 1999), and there has been a longstanding debate as to whether the isoforms are redundant or perform specialized roles as part of a tubulin code (Fulton and Simpson, 1976). Here, we use the well-characterized touch receptor neurons (TRNs) of Caenorhabditis elegans to investigate this question, through genetic dissection of process outgrowth both in vivo and in vitro With single-cell RNA-seq, we compare transcription profiles for TRNs with those of two other sensory neurons, and present evidence that each sensory neuron expresses a distinct palette of tubulin genes. In the TRNs, we analyze process outgrowth and show that four tubulins (tba-1, tba-2, tbb-1, and tbb-2) function partially or fully redundantly, while two others (mec-7 and mec-12) perform specialized, context-dependent roles. Our findings support a model in which sensory neurons express overlapping subsets of tubulin genes whose functional redundancy varies between cell types and in vivo and in vitro contexts.
Early Endothelial Activation in a Mouse Model of Graft vs Host Disease Following Chemotherapy
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-08-05)
Allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (allo-HSCT) can lead to sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (SOS) and graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) in some individuals. GvHD is characterised by an immune triggered response that arises due to donor T cells recognizing the recipient tissue as "foreign". SOS results in impaired liver function due to microvascular thrombosis and consequent obstruction of liver sinusoids. Endothelial damage occurs following chemotherapy and allo-HSCT and is strongly associated with GvHD onset as well as hepatic SOS. Animal models of GvHD are rarely clinically relevant, and endothelial dysfunction remains uncharacterised. Here we established and characterised a clinically relevant model of GvHD wherein Balb/C mice were subjected to myeloablative chemotherapy followed by transplantation of bone marrow (BM) cells± splenic T-cells from C57Bl6 mice, resulting in a mismatch of major histocompatibility complexes (MHC). Onset of disease indicated by weight loss and apoptosis in the liver and intestine was discovered at day 6 post-transplant in mice receiving BM+T-cells, with established GvHD detectable by histology of the liver within 3 weeks. Together with significant increases in pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression in the liver and intestine, histopathological signs of GvHD and a significant increase in CD4+ and CD8+ effector and memory T-cells were seen. Endothelial activation including upregulation of vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)- 1 and downregulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) as well as thrombosis in the liver indicated concomitant hepatic SOS. Our findings confirm that endothelial activation is an early sign of acute GvHD and SOS in a clinically relevant mouse model of GvHD based on myeloablative chemotherapy. Preventing endothelial activation may be a viable therapeutic strategy to prevent GvHD.
The potential of diagnostic point-of-care tests (POCTs) for infectious and zoonotic animal diseases in developing countries: Technical, regulatory and sociocultural considerations
Remote and rural communities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are disproportionately affected by infectious animal diseases due to their close contact with livestock and limited access to animal health personnel). However, animal disease surveillance and diagnosis in LMICs is often challenging, and turnaround times between sample submission and diagnosis can take days to weeks. This diagnostic gap and subsequent disease under-reporting can allow emerging and transboundary animal pathogens to spread, with potentially serious and far-reaching consequences. Point-of-care tests (POCTs), which allow for rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases in non-laboratory settings, have the potential to significantly disrupt traditional animal health surveillance paradigms in LMICs. This literature review sought to identify POCTs currently available for diagnosing infectious animal diseases and to determine facilitators and barriers to their use and uptake in LMICs. Results indicated that some veterinary POCTs have been used for field-based animal disease diagnosis in LMICs with good results. However, many POCTs target a small number of key agricultural and zoonotic animal diseases, while few exist for other important animal diseases. POCT evaluation is rarely taken beyond the laboratory and into the field where they are predicted to have the greatest impact, and where conditions can greatly affect test performance. A lack of mandated test validation regulations for veterinary POCTs has allowed tests of varying quality to enter the market, presenting challenges for potential customers. The use of substandard, improperly validated or unsuitable POCTs in LMICs can greatly undermine their true potential and can have far-reaching negative impacts on disease control. To successfully implement novel rapid diagnostic pathways for animal disease in LMICs, technical, regulatory, socio-political and economic challenges must be overcome, and further research is urgently needed before the potential of animal disease POCTs can be fully realized.
Re-visiting the detection of porcine cysticercosis based on full carcass dissections of naturally Taenia solium infected pigs
BACKGROUND: Taenia solium is a neglected zoonotic parasite. The performances of existing tools for the diagnosis of porcine cysticercosis need further assessment, and their shortcomings call for alternatives. The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of tongue palpation and circulating antigen detection for the detection of porcine cysticercosis in naturally infected pigs of slaughter age compared to full carcass dissections (considered the gold standard). Additionally, alternative postmortem dissection procedures were investigated. A total of 68 rural pigs of slaughter age randomly selected in the Eastern Province of Zambia were dissected. Dissections were conducted on full carcasses (or half carcass in case cysticerci were already detected in the first half), including all the organs. Total cysticercus counts, location and stages were recorded and collected cysticerci were identified morphologically and molecularly. All sera were analysed with the B158/B60 antigen detecting ELISA (Ag-ELISA). RESULTS: Key findings were the high occurrence of T. solium infected pigs (56%) and the presence of T. solium cysticerci in the livers of 26% of infected animals. More than half of the infected carcasses contained viable cysticerci. Seven carcasses had T. hydatigena cysticerci (10%), out of which five carcasses were co-infected with T. hydatigena and T. solium; two carcasses (3%) had only T. hydatigena cysticerci. Compared to full carcass dissection, the specificity of the Ag-ELISA to detect infected carcasses was estimated at 67%, the sensitivity at 68%, increasing to 90% and 100% for the detection of carcasses with one or more viable cysticerci, and more than 10 viable cysts, respectively. Tongue palpation only detected 10% of the cases, half carcass dissection 84%. Selective dissection of the diaphragm, tongue and heart or masseters can be considered, with an estimated sensitivity of 71%, increasing to 86% in carcasses with more than 10 cysticerci. CONCLUSIONS: Depending on the aim of the diagnosis, a combination of Ag-ELISA and selective dissection, including investigating the presence of T. hydatigena, can be considered. Full carcass dissection should include the dissection of the liver, kidneys, spleen and lungs, and results should be interpreted carefully, as small cysticerci can easily be overlooked.
Animals and SARS-CoV-2: Species susceptibility and viral transmission in experimental and natural conditions, and the potential implications for community transmission
The current COVID-19 global pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) of probable bat origin, has highlighted the ongoing need for a One Health response to emerging zoonotic disease events. Understanding the human-animal interface and its relevance to disease transmission remains a critical control point for many emerging zoonoses. Determination of the susceptibility of various animal species to infection with SARS-CoV-2 and the role of animals in the epidemiology of the disease will be critical to informing appropriate human and veterinary public health responses to this pandemic. A scoping literature review was conducted to collect, evaluate and present the available research evidence regarding SARS-CoV-2 infections in animals. Experimental studies have successfully demonstrated SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission in cats, ferrets, hamsters, bats and non-human primates under experimental settings. Dogs appear to have limited susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2, while other domestic species including pigs and poultry do not appear susceptible. Naturally occurring SARS-CoV-2 infections in animals appear uncommon, with 14 pets, 8 captive big cats and an unreported number of farmed mink testing positive at the time of writing (early July 2020). Infections typically appear asymptomatic in dogs, while clinical signs of respiratory and/or gastrointestinal disease tend to be mild to moderate in felines, and severe to fatal in mink. Most animals are presumed to have been infected by close contact with COVID-19 patients. In domestic settings, viral transmission is self-limiting; however in high-density animal environments, there can be sustained between-animal transmission. To date, two potential cases of animal-to-human transmission are being investigated, on infected mink farms. Given the millions of COVID-19 cases worldwide and ongoing potential for further zoonotic and anthroponotic viral transmission, further research and surveillance activities are needed to definitively determine the role of animals in community transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
Preliminary assessment of the computer-based Taenia solium educational program "The Vicious Worm' on knowledge uptake in primary school students in rural areas in eastern Zambia
OBJECTIVE: The zoonotic helminth Taenia solium is endemic in Zambia, causing human (taeniasis and (neuro)cysticercosis) and pig (porcine cysticercosis) diseases with high health, social and economic burdens. We aimed to evaluate the impact of a health educational program intended to lead to powerful and cumulative improvements in knowledge, attitudes and practices that decrease parasite transmission and disease occurrence. METHODS: Half-day health education workshops were conducted in three primary schools in the highly endemic Eastern Province of Zambia, using the computer-based T. solium educational program 'The Vicious Worm'. Questionnaires were administered before and after the educational component to determine the program's impact on knowledge uptake in primary school students. RESULTS: In total, 99 students participated: 38 males and 61 females, with a median age of 14 years (range 10-18 years). Baseline general knowledge of T. solium, including awareness of the different human and pig disease states, and disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention, was quite high (average score 62%) and consistent across all three study areas. Participants' knowledge had significantly increased after the educational component, particularly regarding parasite transmission and disease prevention. CONCLUSION: Preliminary assessment of 'The Vicious Worm' indicates it is an effective tool for the short-term T. solium education of primary school students in Zambia. Follow-up studies are planned to assess the longer term impact of the program on knowledge uptake in the study neighbourhoods. Inclusion of tailored 'The Vicious Worm' educational workshops should be considered in integrated cysticercosis control programs in endemic areas of sub-Saharan Africa.
Investigating a hyper-endemic focus of Taenia solium in northern Lao PDR
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2014-03-28)
BACKGROUND: The Taenia solium cysticercosis-taeniasis complex is a Neglected Tropical Disease of significant public health importance in many impoverished communities worldwide. The parasite is suspected to be endemic in Lao PDR as a result of widespread risk factors including open human defecation, free ranging pigs and weak systems for meat inspection and carcass condemnation. Reported prevalences of human taeniasis throughout the country have ranged from 0-14%, although few of these have definitively diagnosed T. solium, grossly indistinguishable from Taenia saginata (beef tapeworm) and Taenia asiatica. This short communication details the suspicion of a hyper endemic "hotspot" of T. solium in a remote Tai Dam village in northern Lao PDR. FINDINGS: Initial antibody serosurveillance of four provinces in Lao PDR in 2011 indicated human taeniasis and cysticercosis prevalences of 46.7% and 66.7% respectively, in the village of Om Phalong in the north of the country. Subsequent copro-antigen ELISA on 92 human faecal samples from this same village, representing a total 27.9% of the target community, indicated a taeniasis prevalence of 26.1% (95% CI?=?18.2-35.9). Subsequent PCR and sequencing of samples (n?=?5) all identified as T. solium; the other human tapeworms T. saginata and T. asiatica were not detected in any of the samples genotyped. CONCLUSION: This is potentially one of the highest documented prevalences of T. solium taeniasis to date in Lao PDR, if not the Southeast Asia region. This result raises suspicion that other "hotspots" of T. solium hyper endemicity may exist in the region, particularly in communities where the consumption of raw pork is commonplace as a result of cultural practices.
Effects of "The Vicious Worm' educational tool on Taenia solium knowledge retention in Zambian primary school students after one year
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2019-05-01)
BACKGROUND: Taenia solium is a neglected zoonotic parasite endemic throughout many low-income countries worldwide, including Zambia, where it causes human and pig diseases with high health and socioeconomic burdens. Lack of knowledge is a recognized risk factor, and consequently targeted health educational programs can decrease parasite transmission and disease occurrence in endemic areas. Preliminary assessment of the computer-based education program 'The Vicious Worm' in rural areas of eastern Zambia indicated that it was effective at increasing knowledge of T. solium in primary school students. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of 'The Vicious Worm' on knowledge retention by re-assessing the same primary school students one year after the initial education workshops. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Follow-up questionnaires were administered in the original three primary schools in eastern Zambia in 2017, 12 months after the original workshops. In total, 86 pupils participated in the follow-up sessions, representing 87% of the initial workshop respondents. Knowledge of T. solium at 'follow-up' was significantly higher than at the initial 'pre' questionnaire administered during the Vicious Worm workshop that took place one year earlier. While some specifics of the parasite's life cycle were not completely understood, the key messages for disease prevention, such as the importance of hand washing and properly cooking pork, remained well understood by the students, even one year later. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Results of this study indicate that 'The Vicious Worm' may be an effective tool for both short- and long-term T. solium education of rural primary school students in Zambia. Inclusion of educational workshops using 'The Vicious Worm' could be recommended for integrated cysticercosis control/elimination programs in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly if the content is simplified to focus on the key messages for prevention of disease transmission.
Perceptions and acceptability of piloted Taenia solium control and elimination interventions in two endemic communities in eastern Zambia
Infections with Taenia solium cause significant public health and economic losses worldwide. Despite effective control tools, long-term sustained control/elimination of the parasite has not been demonstrated to date. Success of intervention programs is dependent on their acceptability to local communities. Focus group discussions (FGDs) and questionnaires (QS) were conducted in two study communities in eastern Zambia to assess local perceptions and acceptance of two piloted intervention strategies: one targeting pigs only ('control' study arm), and one integrated human- and pig-based ('elimination') strategy. QS (n = 227) captured data regarding participation in project activities, knowledge and perceptions of T. solium and of the interventional drugs used in the study. FGDs (n = 18) discussed perceived advantages and disadvantages of the interventions and of the project's delivery and value. QS data revealed 67% of respondents participated in at least one educational activity, and 80% correctly identified at least one disease targeted by the education. All elimination study arm respondents (n = 113) had taken the human treatment, and 98% intended to do so next time. Most (70%) indicated willingness to pay for future treatments (median 0.20 USD per dose). Of pig-owning respondents, 11/12 (92%) had allowed their pigs to be treated/vaccinated and all intended to do so again next time. Four pig owners indicated willingness to pay 0.10-0.50 USD per dose of treatment or vaccine. FGD feedback revealed positive perceptions of interventions; people reported improved health in themselves and their pigs, and fewer cysticerci in pork. Latrine use, hand washing, meat inspection and proper cooking of pork had reportedly increased since the program's inception. Preliminary assessment indicates that the piloted intervention methods are generally acceptable to the communities. The reported willingness of many respondents to pay for the medications would contribute to the feasibility of long-term, government-led T. solium intervention programs in future.
Field evaluation of the gut microbiome composition of pre-school and school-aged children in Tha Song Yang, Thailand, following oral MDA for STH infections
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2021-07-01)
Soil-transmitted helminths, such as roundworms (Ascaris lumbricoides), whipworms (Trichuris trichiura) and hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma spp.), are gastrointestinal parasites that occur predominantly in low- to middle-income countries worldwide and disproportionally impact children. Depending on the STH species, health status of the host and infection intensity, direct impacts of these parasites include malnutrition, anaemia, diarrhoea and physical and cognitive stunting. The indirect consequences of these infections are less well understood. Specifically, gastrointestinal infections may exert acute or chronic impacts on the natural gut microfauna, leading to increased risk of post-infectious gastrointestinal disorders, and reduced gut and overall health through immunomodulating mechanisms. To date a small number of preliminary studies have assessed the impact of helminths on the gut microbiome, but these studies are conflicting. Here, we assessed STH burden in 273 pre-school and school-aged children in Tha Song Yang district, Tak province, Thailand receiving annual oral mebendazole treatment. Ascaris lumbricoides (107/273) and Trichuris trichiura (100/273) were the most prevalent species and often occurred as co-infections (66/273). Ancylostoma ceylanicum was detected in a small number of children as well (n = 3). All of these infections were of low intensity (<4,999 or 999 eggs per gram for Ascaris and Trichuris respectively). Using this information, we characterised the baseline gut microbiome profile and investigated acute STH-induced alterations, comparing infected with uninfected children at the time of sampling. We found no difference between these groups in bacterial alpha-diversity, but did observe differences in beta-diversity and specific differentially abundant OTUs, including increased Akkermansia muciniphila and Bacteroides coprophilus, and reduced Bifidobacterium adolescentis, each of which have been previously implicated in STH-associated changes in the gut microfauna.
Disruption of mitochondrial dynamics affects behaviour and lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-05)
Mitochondria are essential components of eukaryotic cells, carrying out critical physiological processes that include energy production and calcium buffering. Consequently, mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with a range of human diseases. Fundamental to their function is the ability to transition through fission and fusion states, which is regulated by several GTPases. Here, we have developed new methods for the non-subjective quantification of mitochondrial morphology in muscle and neuronal cells of Caenorhabditis elegans. Using these techniques, we uncover surprising tissue-specific differences in mitochondrial morphology when fusion or fission proteins are absent. From ultrastructural analysis, we reveal a novel role for the fusion protein FZO-1/mitofusin 2 in regulating the structure of the inner mitochondrial membrane. Moreover, we have determined the influence of the individual mitochondrial fission (DRP-1/DRP1) and fusion (FZO-1/mitofusin 1,2; EAT-3/OPA1) proteins on animal behaviour and lifespan. We show that loss of these mitochondrial fusion or fission regulators induced age-dependent and progressive deficits in animal movement, as well as in muscle and neuronal function. Our results reveal that disruption of fusion induces more profound defects than lack of fission on animal behaviour and tissue function, and imply that while fusion is required throughout life, fission is more important later in life likely to combat ageing-associated stressors. Furthermore, our data demonstrate that mitochondrial function is not strictly dependent on morphology, with no correlation found between morphological changes and behavioural defects. Surprisingly, we find that disruption of either mitochondrial fission or fusion significantly reduces median lifespan, but maximal lifespan is unchanged, demonstrating that mitochondrial dynamics play an important role in limiting variance in longevity across isogenic populations. Overall, our study provides important new insights into the central role of mitochondrial dynamics in maintaining organismal health.
GAD antibody positivity predicts type 2 diabetes in an adult population.
(American Diabetes Association, 2010-02)
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the significance of GAD antibodies (GADAs) and family history for type 1 diabetes (FH(T1)) or type 2 diabetes (FH(T2)) in nondiabetic subjects. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: GADAs were analyzed in 4,976 nondiabetic relatives of type 2 diabetic patients or control subjects from Finland. Altogether, 289 (5.9%) were GADA(+)-a total of 253 GADA(+) and 2,511 GADA(-) subjects participated in repeated oral glucose tolerance tests during a median time of 8.1 years. The risk of progression to diabetes was assessed using Cox regression analysis. RESULTS: Subjects within the highest quartile of GADA(+) (GADA(+)(high)) had more often first-degree FH(T1) (29.2 vs. 7.9%, P < 0.00001) and GADA(+) type 2 diabetic (21.3 vs. 13.7%, P = 0.002) or nondiabetic (26.4 vs. 13.3%, P = 0.010) relatives than GADA(-) subjects. During the follow-up, the GADA(+) subjects developed diabetes significantly more often than the GADA(-) subjects (36/253 [14.2%] vs. 134/2,511 [5.3%], P < 0.00001). GADA(+)(high) conferred a 4.9-fold increased risk of diabetes (95% CI 2.8-8.5) compared with GADA(-)-seroconversion to positive during the follow-up was associated with 6.5-fold (2.8-15.2) and first-degree FH(T1) with 2.2-fold (1.2-4.1) risk of diabetes. Only three subjects developed type 1 diabetes, and others had a non-insulin-dependent phenotype 1 year after diagnosis. GADA(+) and GADA(-) subjects did not clinically differ at baseline, but they were leaner and less insulin resistant after the diagnosis of diabetes. CONCLUSIONS: GADA positivity clusters in families with type 1 diabetes or latent autoimmune diabetes in adults. GADA positivity predicts diabetes independently of family history of diabetes, and this risk was further increased with high GADA concentrations.