The aim of the study was to compare a group of cats with feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC) with a group of control cats without present or previous signs of lower urinary tract disease in order to identify factors in characteristics, personality, behaviour, environment and daily life that would make them more susceptible to the disease.
The study was a matched case-control study comparing results from telephone interviews based on a standardised questionnaire. The questions were organised into six subject groups: the characteristics of the cat; the cat's environment; the presence of other pets in the household; the cat's feeding and drinking regime; management of the cat's litter box; and the cat's opportunity to perform natural behaviour.
The results from the present study showed that a cat diagnosed with FIC was more likely to be overweight and to be of a nervous disposition than the control cats. In addition, several differences between cases and controls were detected at a univariable level of analysis, related to outdoor access and the cats' perceived safety and comfort in their home environments. While not significant after multivariable analysis, these variables may still be of importance owing to potential interrelations.
Several significant differences between cats with FIC and control cats were revealed, and the results support the hypothesis of environmental stress as being a potential factor in the development of FIC.
Francisella tularensis, a small Gram-negative bacterium, is capable of infecting a wide range of animals, including humans, and causes a plague-like disease called tularemia-a highly contagious disease with a high mortality rate. Because of these characteristics, F. tularensis is considered a potential agent of biological terrorism. Currently, F. tularensis is divided into four subspecies, which differ in their virulence and geographic distribution. Two of them, subsp. tularensis (primarily found in North America) and subsp. holarctica (widespread across the Northern Hemisphere), are responsible for tularemia in humans. Subsp. novicida is almost avirulent in humans. The fourth subspecies, subsp. mediasiatica, is the least studied because of its limited distribution and impact in human health. It is found only in sparsely populated regions of Central Asia. In this report, we describe the first focus of naturally circulating F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica in Russia. We isolated and characterized 18 strains of this subspecies in the Altai region. All strains were highly virulent in mice. The virulence of subsp. mediasiatica in a vaccinated mouse model is intermediate between that of subsp. tularensis and subsp. holarctica. Based on a multiple-locus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA), we show that the Altaic population of F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica is genetically distinct from the classical Central Asian population, and probably is endemic to Southern Siberia. We propose to subdivide the mediasiatica subspecies into three phylogeographic groups, M.I, M.II and M.III.
Cites: BMC Bioinformatics. 2013 May 01;14:14823635100
Cites: Eur Respir J. 2003 Feb;21(2):361-7312608453
Prevalence of influenza A virus (IAV) infections in northern-breeding waterfowl has previously been reported to reach an annual peak during late summer or autumn; however, little is known about IAV infection dynamics in waterfowl populations persisting at high-latitude regions such as Alaska, during winter. We captured mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) throughout the non-breeding season (August-April) of 2012-2015 in Fairbanks and Anchorage, the two largest cities in Alaska, to assess patterns of IAV infection and antibody production using molecular methods and a standard serologic assay. In addition, we used virus isolation, genetic sequencing, and a virus microneutralization assay to characterize viral subtypes and to evaluate the immune response of mallards captured on multiple occasions through time. We captured 923 mallards during three successive sampling years: Fairbanks in 2012/13 and 2013/14, and Anchorage in 2014/15. Prevalence varied by age, season, and year/site with high and relatively stable estimates throughout the non-breeding season. Infected birds were detected in all locations/seasons except early-winter in Fairbanks during 2013/14. IAVs with 17 combinations of hemagglutinin (H1-5, H7-9, H11, H12) and neuraminidase (N1-6, N8, N9) subtypes were isolated. Antibodies to IAVs were detected throughout autumn and winter for all sampling locations and years, however, seroprevalence was higher among adults and varied among years. Mallards exhibited individual heterogeneity with regard to immune response, providing instances of both seroconversion and seroreversion to detected viral subtypes. The probability that an individual transitioned from one serostatus to another varied by age, with juvenile mallards having higher rates of seroconversion and seroreversion than adults. Our study provides evidence that a diversity of IAVs circulate in populations of mallards wintering at urban locations in Alaska, and we suggest waterfowl wintering at high-latitudes may play an important role in maintenance of viruses across breeding seasons.
Infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV) has been isolated annually since 1987 from salmonids without clinical signs at coastal fish farms in Finland. In the inland area, viral isolations were rare until 2012, when IPNV was detected at several freshwater fish farms. Between 2013 and 2015, the infection spread and IPNV was continuously isolated from several farms, both inland and on the coast. The aim of this study was to genetically characterise the IPNV isolates collected from Finnish coastal and inland fish farms over the last 15 years, and to detect genetic changes that may have occurred in the virus populations during the study period. The partial VP2 gene sequence from 88 isolates was analysed. In addition, a complete genomic coding sequence was obtained from 11 isolates. Based on the genetic analyses, Finnish IPNV isolates belong to three genogroups: 2, 5 and 6. The genetic properties of the isolates appear to vary between inland farms producing juveniles and food fish farms in the coastal region: the inland farms harboured genogroup 2 isolates, whereas at coastal farms, all three genogroups were detected. Little genetic variation was observed within the Finnish genogroup 2 and 5 isolates, whereas among the genogroup 6 isolates, two subgroups were detected. All isolates studied demonstrated amino acid patterns in the viral VP2 gene previously associated with avirulence. However, increased mortality was detected at some of the farms, indicating that more research is needed to clarify the relationship between the pathogenicity and genetic properties of IPNV isolates from different genogroups.
To predict the risk of infectious diseases originating in wildlife, it is important to identify habitats that allow the co-occurrence of pathogens and their hosts. Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) is a directly-transmitted RNA virus that causes hemorrhagic fever in humans, and is carried and transmitted by the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). In northern Sweden, bank voles undergo 3-4?year population cycles, during which their spatial distribution varies greatly.
We used boosted regression trees; a technique inspired by machine learning, on a 10 - year time-series (fall 2003-2013) to develop a spatial predictive model assessing seasonal PUUV hazard using micro-habitat variables in a landscape heavily modified by forestry. We validated the models in an independent study area approx. 200?km away by predicting seasonal presence of infected bank voles in a five-year-period (2007-2010 and 2015).
The distribution of PUUV-infected voles varied seasonally and inter-annually. In spring, micro-habitat variables related to cover and food availability in forests predicted both bank vole and infected bank vole presence. In fall, the presence of PUUV-infected voles was generally restricted to spruce forests where cover was abundant, despite the broad landscape distribution of bank voles in general. We hypothesize that the discrepancy in distribution between infected and uninfected hosts in fall, was related to higher survival of PUUV and/or PUUV-infected voles in the environment, especially where cover is plentiful.
Moist and mesic old spruce forests, with abundant cover such as large holes and bilberry shrubs, also providing food, were most likely to harbor infected bank voles. The models developed using long-term and spatially extensive data can be extrapolated to other areas in northern Fennoscandia. To predict the hazard of directly transmitted zoonoses in areas with unknown risk status, models based on micro-habitat variables and developed through machine learning techniques in well-studied systems, could be used.
Allergen-specific IgE measurements and the clinical history are the cornerstones of allergy diagnosis. During the past decades, both characterization and standardization of allergen extracts and assay technology have improved. Here we discuss the uses, advantages, misinterpretations, and limitations of ImmunoCAP IgE assays (Thermo Fisher Scientific/Phadia, Uppsala, Sweden) in the field of allergology. They can be performed as singleplex (ImmunoCAP) and, for the last decade, as multiplex (Immuno Solid-phase Allergen Chip [ISAC]). The major benefit of ImmunoCAP is the obtained quantified allergen-specific IgE antibody level and the lack of interference from allergen-specific IgG antibodies. However, ImmunoCAP allergen extracts are limited to the composition of the extract. The introduction of allergen molecules has had a major effect on analytic specificity and allergy diagnosis. They are used in both singleplex ImmunoCAP and multiplex ImmunoCAP ISAC assays. The major advantage of ISAC is the comprehensive IgE pattern obtained with a minute amount of serum. The shortcomings are its semiquantitative measurements, lower linear range, and cost per assay. With respect to assay performance, ImmunoCAP allergen extracts are good screening tools, but allergen molecules dissect the IgE response on a molecular level and put allergy research on the map of precision medicine.
Our ability to infer unobservable disease-dynamic processes such as force of infection (infection hazard for susceptible hosts) has transformed our understanding of disease transmission mechanisms and capacity to predict disease dynamics. Conventional methods for inferring FOI estimate a time-averaged value and are based on population-level processes. Because many pathogens exhibit epidemic cycling and FOI is the result of processes acting across the scales of individuals and populations, a flexible framework that extends to epidemic dynamics and links within-host processes to FOI is needed. Specifically, within-host antibody kinetics in wildlife hosts can be short-lived and produce patterns that are repeatable across individuals, suggesting individual-level antibody concentrations could be used to infer time since infection and hence FOI. Using simulations and case studies (influenza A in lesser snow geese and Yersinia pestis in coyotes), we argue that with careful experimental and surveillance design, the population-level FOI signal can be recovered from individual-level antibody kinetics, despite substantial individual-level variation. In addition to improving inference, the cross-scale quantitative antibody approach we describe can reveal insights into drivers of individual-based variation in disease response, and the role of poorly understood processes such as secondary infections, in population-level dynamics of disease.
We investigated the evolution and epidemiology of a novel livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain, which colonizes and infects urban-dwelling Danes even without a Danish animal reservoir. Genetic evidence suggests both poultry and human adaptation, with poultry meat implicated as a probable source.
Whether marine fishes are capable of homing to their natal areas has long been something of an enigma. For some estuarine species or sharks (which have extended nondispersal juvenile stages or are born as relatively large, fully formed juveniles), the answer is clearly 'yes' (Thorrold et al. ; Feldheim et al. ), but for most marine fishes, the issue is much more mysterious. Many species have free-floating eggs, and most have pelagic, passively dispersing larvae. It is challenging to imagine how adult fish might navigate to a region of the ocean they experienced only as eggs or larvae, and easier to assume that such dispersal leads inexorably to high gene flow, and even panmixia. One way to resolve the conundrum would be to track fish from hatching to reproduction, but for marine fishes with tiny eggs and drifting larvae, this is notoriously difficult to do (Bradbury & Laurel ). In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Bonanomi et al. () use a creative approach to solve this challenge for Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) populations that mingle in the vicinity of Greenland. They show that cod that disperse more than a 1000 km away from Iceland as eggs and larvae, then spend years growing on the far side of Greenland, while mixing with two local populations, return as adults to spawning areas near Iceland - and further, that this behaviour has remained stable over more than six decades. They manage this feat with a clever use of historical cod tracking data, modern genomic data and genetic analysis of decades-old DNA obtained from archived materials. Their results have important implications for our view of the biocomplexity of marine fish populations, and how we should manage them.
The 4-year-long field experiment with ticks collected in the wild and immediately marked and released was performed in April-July 2012-2015 in a city park of Tomsk (Western Siberia). A total of 1712 males and females of the tick Ixodes pavlovskyi, vector of many dangerous diseases, were examined. The analysis of the data obtained had demonstrated that I. pavlovskyi was able to migrate towards the walkway, probably being attracted by periodical stimulation from passing humans and their pets.
In vivo physiological measurement is a major challenge in modern science and technology, as is environment conservation at the global scale. Proper toxicological testing of widely produced mixtures of chemicals is a necessary step in the development of new products, allowing us to minimize the human impact on aquatic ecosystems. However, currently available bioassay-based techniques utilizing small aquatic organisms such as fish embryos for toxicity testing do not allow assessing in time the changes in physiological parameters in the same individual. In this study, we introduce microencapsulated fluorescent probes as a promising tool for in vivo monitoring of internal pH variation in zebrafish embryos. The pH alteration identified under stress conditions demonstrates the applicability of the microencapsulated fluorescent probes for the repeated analysis of the embryo's physiological state. The proposed approach has strong potential to simultaneously measure a range of physiological characteristics using a set of specific fluorescent probes and to finally bring toxicological bioassays and related research fields to a new level of effectiveness and sensitivity.
Extended spectrum ß-lactamase producing Escherichia coli (ESBL-EC) are excreted via effluents and sewage into the environment where they can re-contaminate humans and animals. The aim of this observational study was to detect and quantify ESBL-EC in recreational water and wastewater, and perform a genetic and phenotypic comparative analysis of the environmental strains with geographically associated human urinary ESBL-EC. Recreational fresh- and saltwater samples from four different beaches and wastewater samples from a nearby sewage plant were filtered and cultured on differential and ESBL-selective media. After antimicrobial susceptibility testing and multi-locus variable number of tandem repeats assay (MLVA), selected ESBL-EC strains from recreational water were characterized by whole genome sequencing (WGS) and compared to wastewater and human urine isolates from people living in the same area. We detected ESBL-EC in recreational water samples on 8/20 occasions (40%), representing all sites. The ratio of ESBL-EC to total number of E. coli colony forming units varied from 0 to 3.8%. ESBL-EC were present in all wastewater samples in ratios of 0.56-0.75%. ST131 was most prevalent in urine and wastewater samples, while ST10 dominated in water samples. Eight STs and identical ESBL-EC MLVA-types were detected in all compartments. Clinical ESBL-EC isolates were more likely to be multidrug-resistant (p
Cites: Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 Aug;22(15):11488-9225821088
Cites: PLoS One. 2017 Mar 7;12 (3):e017351028267783
The aim of this study was to investigate the spatial distribution, levels of dioxin-like compounds (DLC), and biological responses in two fish species. The viviparous eelpout (Zoarces viviparus) was collected from various locations in the Baltic Sea and in fjords of Kattegat and Skagerrak, while shorthorn sculpin (Myoxocephalus scorpius) was obtained at the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) polluted site in North West Greenland. Significant differences were detected both in contaminant levels and relative contributions from either polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDD) or polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF or furans) and mono-ortho- and non-ortho (coplanar) polychlorinated biphenyls (dl-PCB). Fish from the eastern Baltic Sea generally displayed higher contributions from PCDD/F compared to dl-PCB, whereas dl-PCB were generally predominated in fish from Danish, Swedish, and German sites. Levels of dl-PCB in muscle tissues were above OSPAR environmental assessment criteria (EAC) for PCB118, indicating a potential risk of adverse biological effects in the ecosystem, whereas levels of the total WHO-TEQs were below threshold for sea food suggesting limited risks for humans. No significant relationships between levels of DLC (expressed as WHO-TEQ), and biological responses such as the induction of CYP1A enzymatic activity and fry reproductive disorders were observed in eelpout. No marked relationship between WHO-TEQ and combined biological aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated transactivity (expressed as AhR-TEQ) was noted. However, there was a positive correlation between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) metabolites and induction of CYP1A activity, suggesting that PAH exhibited greater potential than DLC to produce biological effects in eelpout from the Baltic Sea.
The food industry, including the meat industry, is currently looking for natural preservatives to prevent the growth of harmful microbes in foods. The potential of plant-derived antimicrobial extracts to increase the shelf life and to delay the microbiological spoilage of marinated broiler chicken cuts in modified atmosphere packages during cold storage was investigated in this study. We evaluated the impact of aqueous ethanolic extracts of Finnish sea buckthorn berries and lingonberries and supercritical CO2-extracted herbal extracts from an antimicrobial blend and oregano leaves on the shelf life of broiler meat. The commercial antimicrobial blend extract and the oregano extract inhibited the growth of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and Brochothrix thermosphacta in the marinated samples. The antimicrobial blend extract also reduced the growth of psychrotrophic aerobic bacteria, whereas the sea buckthorn and lingonberry extracts did not. Only minor antimicrobial activity against Enterobacteriaceae by all the extracts was observed. Plate count analysis, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, and quantitative real-time PCR indicated that LAB, which are the major spoilage group in marinated modified atmosphere-packaged poultry products, were not significantly affected by the berry extracts studied. During this shelf-life study, LAB isolates of Lactobacillus and Leuconostoc were identified in the marinated samples. Antimicrobial blends and oregano leaf extracts can act as antimicrobial agents in marinade blends, although tailoring of the dose is needed because of their strong taste. Further studies for exploiting synergistic effects of plant extracts could contribute to the development of potential and more effective antimicrobial blends. Studies are needed in meat matrices and in product applications to demonstrate the efficacy of these compounds.
Amyloid A (AA) amyloidosis occurs spontaneously in many mammals and birds, but the prevalence varies considerably among different species, and even among subgroups of the same species. The Blue fox and the Gray fox seem to be resistant to the development of AA amyloidosis, while Island foxes have a high prevalence of the disease. Herein, we report on the identification of AA amyloidosis in the Red fox (Vulpes vulpes). Edman degradation and tandem MS analysis of proteolyzed amyloid protein revealed that the amyloid partly was composed of full-length SAA. Its amino acid sequence was determined and found to consist of 111 amino acid residues. Based on inter-species sequence comparisons we found four residue exchanges (Ser31, Lys63, Leu71, Lys72) between the Red and Blue fox SAAs. Lys63 seems unique to the Red fox SAA. We found no obvious explanation to how these exchanges might correlate with the reported differences in SAA amyloidogenicity. Furthermore, in contrast to fibrils from many other mammalian species, the isolated amyloid fibrils from Red fox did not seed AA amyloidosis in a mouse model.
Cites: Biochim Biophys Acta. 1982 Feb 4;701(1):19-236173073
Cites: J Clin Invest. 1978 Feb;61(2):390-4621279
Cites: Pharmacol Ther. 1989;41(1-2):49-832652158
Cites: PLoS One. 2014 Nov 26;9(11):e11376525429466
Cites: Amyloid. 2008 Jun;15(2):77-8318484333
Cites: Chem Biol Interact. 2011 May 30;191(1-3):8-1321329683
Cites: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Mar 14;103(11):4074-816537487
Use of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) for removal of salmon lice in the aquaculture industry has created concern that non-target organisms might be affected during treatment scenarios. The aim of the present study was to examine the potential for H2O2 to produce oxidative stress and reduce survival in one of the most abundant zooplankton species in Norwegian coastal areas, the copepod Calanus finmarchicus. Copepods were subjected to two 96-hr tests: (1) acute toxicity test where mortality was determined and (2) treated copepods were exposed to concentrations below the No Observed Effect Concentration (0.75 mg/L) H2O2 and analyzed for antioxidant enzyme activities, as well as levels of glutathione (GSH) and malondialdehyde (MDA). Compared to available and comparable LC50 values from the literature, our results suggest that C. finmarchicus is highly sensitive to H2O2. However, 96-hr exposure of C. finmarchicus to 0.75 mg H2O2/L did not significantly affect the antioxidant systems even though the concentration is just below the level where mortality is expected. Data suggest that aqueous H2O2 exposure did not cause cellular accumulation with associated oxidative stress, but rather produced acute effects on copepod surface (carapace). Further investigation is required to ensure that aqueous exposure during H2O2 treatment in salmon fish farms does not exert adverse effects on local non-target crustacean species and populations. In particular, studies on copepod developmental stages with a more permeable carapace are warranted.
The dairy industry has undergone substantial structural changes as intensive farming has developed during recent decades. Mastitis continues to be the most common production disease of dairy cows. Nationwide surveys of mastitis prevalence are useful in monitoring udder health of dairy herds and to study the impact of structural changes on the dairy industry. This survey on bovine subclinical mastitis was the first based on cow composite milk somatic cell count (SCC) data from the Finnish national health monitoring and milk recording database. A cow with composite milk SCC =200,000 cells/ml in at least one of the four test milkings during the year was considered to have subclinical mastitis and a cow with composite milk SCC =200,000 cells/ml in three or in all four test milkings during the year to have chronic subclinical mastitis. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of subclinical mastitis and chronic subclinical mastitis in Finland in 1991, 2001 and 2010 and to investigate cow and herd factors associated with elevated SCC.
Prevalence of subclinical mastitis in Finland decreased over recent decades from 22.3% (1991) and 20.1% (2001) to 19.0% (2010). Prevalence of chronic subclinical mastitis was 20.4% in 1991, 15.5% in 2001 and 16.1% in 2010. The most significant cow and herd factors associated with subclinical mastitis or high milk SCC were increasing parity, Holstein breed, free-stalls with an automatic milking system and organic production. Milk SCC were highest from July to September. Main factors associated with chronic mastitis were increasing parity and Holstein breed.
Prevalence of subclinical mastitis in Finland decreased over recent decades, the greatest change taking place during the first decade of the study. Prevalence of chronic subclinical mastitis significantly decreased from 1991. The most significant factors associated with both types of mastitis were increasing parity and Holstein breed, and for subclinical mastitis also free-stalls with automatic milking. National surveys on mastitis prevalence should be carried out at regular intervals to monitor udder health of dairy cows and to study the impact of the ongoing structural changes in the dairy industry to enable interventions related to udder health to be made when needed.
Emerging livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) persist in livestock populations and represent a reservoir for transmission to humans. Understanding the routes of introduction and further transmission is crucial to control this threat to human health.
All reported cases of livestock-associated MRSA (CC398) in humans and pigs in Norway between 2008 and 2014 were included. Data were collected during an extensive outbreak investigation, including contact tracing and stringent surveillance. Whole-genome sequencing of isolates from all human cases and pig farms was performed to support and expand the epidemiological findings. The national strategy furthermore included a "search-and-destroy" policy at the pig farm level.
Three outbreak clusters were identified, including 26 pig farms, 2 slaughterhouses, and 36 humans. Primary introductions likely occurred by human transmission to 3 sow farms with secondary transmission to other pig farms, mainly through animal trade and to a lesser extent via humans or livestock trucks. All MRSA CC398 isolated from humans without an epidemiological link to the outbreaks were genetically distinct from isolates within the outbreak clusters indicating limited dissemination to the general population.
This study identified preventable routes of MRSA CC398 introduction and transmission: human occupational exposure, trade of pigs and livestock transport vehicles. These findings are essential for keeping pig populations MRSA free and, from a "One Health" perspective, preventing pig farms from becoming reservoirs for MRSA transmission to humans.