Existing sources of wildlife morbidity and mortality data were evaluated and 3 pilot active surveillance projects were undertaken to compare and contrast methods for collecting wildlife disease data on Vancouver Island for public health purposes. Few organizations could collect samples for diagnostic evaluation, fewer still maintained records, and none regularly characterized or reported wildlife disease for public health purposes. Wildlife rehabilitation centers encountered the greatest variety of wildlife from the largest geographic area and frequently received submissions from other organizations. Obstacles to participation included the following: permit restrictions; financial disincentives; staff safety; no mandate to collect relevant data; and lack of contact between wildlife and public health agencies. Despite these obstacles, modest investments in personnel allowed novel pathogens of public health concern to be tracked. Targeted surveillance for known pathogens in specific host species, rather than general surveys for unspecified pathogens, was judged to be a more effective and efficient way to provide useful public health data.
Pets, wildlife, or livestock could provide early warning.
We conducted a systematic review of the scientific literature from 1966 to 2005 to determine whether animals could provide early warning of a bioterrorism attack, serve as markers for ongoing exposure risk, and amplify or propagate a bioterrorism outbreak. We found evidence that, for certain bioterrorism agents, pets, wildlife, or livestock could provide early warning and that for other agents, humans would likely manifest symptoms before illness could be detected in animals. After an acute attack, active surveillance of wild or domestic animal populations could help identify many ongoing exposure risks. If certain bioterrorism agents found their way into animal populations, they could spread widely through animal-to-animal transmission and prove difficult to control. The public health infrastructure must look beyond passive surveillance of acute animal disease events to build capacity for active surveillance and intervention efforts to detect and control ongoing outbreaks of disease in domestic and wild animal populations.
bioterrorism; animals; sentinel surveillance; evidence based medicine; Zoonoses; biological warfare
The Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre (CCWHC) was established in 1992 as an organization among Canada's 4 veterinary colleges, with a mandate to apply veterinary medicine to wildlife management and conservation in Canada. A major function of the CCWHC is nation-wide surveillance of wild animal diseases. Disease surveillance is conceived as consisting of 4 different activities: detection, diagnosis, information management, and use of information. In the CCWHC surveillance program, detection of disease is carried out by a wide range of professional and avocational field personnel, and much effort is expended to stimulate and support this activity. Diagnosis is done by personnel of provincial and federal veterinary laboratories and the CCWHC. Information management is achieved through a national database of wildlife disease incidents developed and maintained by the CCWHC. Use of information is enabled through established channels for distribution of information derived from the surveillance program to persons responsible for wildlife programs and policies, and to the public. There has been a high demand for the services of the CCWHC since its establishment. The CCWHC responds to approximately 2000 requests for information annually, distributes its newsletter to over 1700 recipients, examines approximately 1200 wild animal submissions each year, and has accumulated records of over 5000 disease incidents in its database. Technical information from the CCWHC has benefited federal, provincial/territorial, and nongovernment wildlife agencies; endangered species recovery programs; federal and provincial veterinary services; and federal and provincial public health programs.
Anthrax is endemic throughout Africa, causing considerable livestock and wildlife losses and severe, sometimes fatal, infection in humans. Predicting the risk of infection is therefore important for public health, wildlife conservation and livestock economies. However, because of the intermittent and variable nature of anthrax outbreaks, associated environmental and climatic conditions, and diversity of species affected, the ecology of this multihost pathogen is poorly understood.We explored records of anthrax from the Serengeti ecosystem in north-west Tanzania where the disease has been documented in humans, domestic animals and a range of wildlife. Using spatial and temporal case-detection and seroprevalence data from wild and domestic animals, we investigated spatial, environmental, climatic and species-specific associations in exposure and disease.Anthrax was detected annually in numerous species, but large outbreaks were spatially localized, mostly affecting a few focal herbivores.Soil alkalinity and cumulative weather extremes were identified as useful spatial and temporal predictors of exposure and infection risk, and for triggering the onset of large outbreaks.Interacting ecological and behavioural factors, specifically functional groups and spatiotemporal overlap, helped to explain the variable patterns of infection and exposure among species.Synthesis and applications. Our results shed light on ecological drivers of anthrax infection and suggest that soil alkalinity and prolonged droughts or rains are useful predictors of disease occurrence that could guide risk-based surveillance. These insights should inform strategies for managing anthrax including prophylactic livestock vaccination, timing of public health warnings and antibiotic provision in high-risk areas. However, this research highlights the need for greater surveillance (environmental, serological and case-detection-orientated) to determine the mechanisms underlying anthrax dynamics.
Bacillus anthracis; disease ecology; exposure; infectious disease; multihost; serology; surveillance; susceptibility; zoonosis
The global trade in wildlife has historically contributed to the emergence and spread of infectious diseases. The United States is the world's largest importer of wildlife and wildlife products, yet minimal pathogen surveillance has precluded assessment of the health risks posed by this practice. This report details the findings of a pilot project to establish surveillance methodology for zoonotic agents in confiscated wildlife products. Initial findings from samples collected at several international airports identified parts originating from nonhuman primate (NHP) and rodent species, including baboon, chimpanzee, mangabey, guenon, green monkey, cane rat and rat. Pathogen screening identified retroviruses (simian foamy virus) and/or herpesviruses (cytomegalovirus and lymphocryptovirus) in the NHP samples. These results are the first demonstration that illegal bushmeat importation into the United States could act as a conduit for pathogen spread, and suggest that implementation of disease surveillance of the wildlife trade will help facilitate prevention of disease emergence.
The domestic animals/wildlife interface is becoming a global issue of growing interest. However, despite studies on wildlife diseases being in expansion, the epidemiological role of wild animals in the transmission of infectious diseases remains unclear most of the time. Multiple diseases affecting livestock have already been identified in wildlife, especially in wild ungulates. The first objective of this paper was to establish a list of infections already reported in European wild ungulates. For each disease/infection, three additional materials develop examples already published, specifying the epidemiological role of the species as assigned by the authors. Furthermore, risk factors associated with interactions between wild and domestic animals and regarding emerging infectious diseases are summarized. Finally, the wildlife surveillance measures implemented in different European countries are presented. New research areas are proposed in order to provide efficient tools to prevent the transmission of diseases between wild ungulates and livestock.
Exotic wildlife can act as reservoirs of diseases that are endemic in the area or can be the source of new emerging diseases through interspecies transmission. The recent emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) highlights the importance of virus surveillance in wild animals. Here, we report the identification of a novel bat coronavirus through surveillance of coronaviruses in wildlife. Analyses of the RNA sequence from the ORF1b and S-gene regions indicated that the virus is a group 1 coronavirus. The virus was detected in fecal and respiratory samples from three bat species (Miniopterus spp.). In particular, 63% (12 of 19) of fecal samples from Miniopterus pusillus were positive for the virus. These findings suggest that this virus might be commonly circulating in M. pusillus in Hong Kong.
Toxoplasma gondii is found on all continents and can infect all endothermic vertebrates. Toxoplasmosis is a globally important zoonosis with potentially devastating health impacts both for humans and a range of domestic and wild species. The World Health Organisation have repeatedly recommended the collection of accurate epidemiological data for T. gondii, yet despite recognised links between infection of wildlife, domestic animals and humans, seroprevalence in wild species is rarely monitored. Here, serological investigation using the Gold Standard Sabin-Feldman Dye Test was used to test for T. gondii in Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) found dead, mainly as road-kill, in England and Wales. This is the first spatially widespread study of T. gondii in UK wildlife, and the first extensive survey of T. gondii in Eurasian otters, a sentinel species of fresh waters.
Infection was both common (39.5% prevalence, n = 271) and widespread, with significantly more infection in the east than the west of the UK. There was an increase in seroprevalence with age, but no sex bias.
The relatively high prevalence of T. gondii in a predominantly piscivorous freshwater mammal suggests widespread faecal contamination of freshwater ecosystems with oocysts. Continued surveillance of the Eurasian otter for T. gondii is valuable because of conservation concerns due to the otter’s ‘near threatened’ status on the IUCN Red List and because of the host’s role as a sentinel for freshwater health.
Wildlife disease; Spatial distribution; Sabin Feldman; Surveillance; Zoonosis
Clinical observations will allow early detection of emerging diseases in animal to enhance response time and capabilities.
Predicting emerging diseases is among the most difficult challenges facing researchers and health managers. We present available approaches and tools to detect emerging diseases in animals based on clinical observations of farm animals by veterinarians. Three information systems are described and discussed: Veterinary Practitioner Aided Disease Surveillance in New Zealand, the Rapid Syndrome Validation Project—Animal in the United States, and "émergences" in France. These systems are based on syndromic surveillance with the notification of every case or of specific clinical syndromes or on the notification of atypical clinical cases. Data are entered by field veterinarians into forms available through Internet-accessible devices. Beyond challenges of implementing new information systems, minimizing economic and health effects from emerging diseases in animals requires strong synergies across a group of field partners, in research, and in international animal and public health customs and practices.
emerging diseases; animal; detection; epidemiology; information systems; perspective
Proactive changes are needed to protect the public from myriad serious diseases.
The United States is the world’s largest wildlife importer, and imported wild animals represent a potential source of zoonotic pathogens. Using data on mammals imported during 2000–2005, we assessed their potential to host 27 selected risk zoonoses and created a risk assessment that could inform policy making for wildlife importation and zoonotic disease surveillance. A total of 246,772 mammals in 190 genera (68 families) were imported. The most widespread agents of risk zoonoses were rabies virus (in 78 genera of mammals), Bacillus anthracis (57), Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (48), Echinococcus spp. (41), and Leptospira spp. (35). Genera capable of harboring the greatest number of risk zoonoses were Canis and Felis (14 each), Rattus (13), Equus (11), and Macaca and Lepus (10 each). These findings demonstrate the myriad opportunities for zoonotic pathogens to be imported and suggest that, to ensure public safety, immediate proactive changes are needed at multiple levels.
Zoonoses; communicable disease control; outbreaks; reservoirs; infectious disease transmission; RNA virus infections; hemorrhagic fevers; viruses; perspective
Transmission of pathogens from domestic animals to wildlife populations (spill-over) has precipitated local wildlife extinctions in multiple geographic locations. Identifying such events before they cause population declines requires differentiating spillover from endemic disease, a challenge complicated by a lack of baseline data from wildlife populations that are isolated from domestic animals. We tested sera collected from 12 ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) native to Barro Colorado Island, Panama, which is free of domestic animals, for antibodies to feline herpes virus, feline calicivirus, feline corona virus, feline panleukopenia virus, canine distemper virus, and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), typically a species-specific infection. Samples also were tested for feline leukemia virus antigens. Positive tests results were only observed for FIV; 50% of the ocelots were positive. We hypothesize that isolation of this population has prevented introduction of pathogens typically attributed to contact with domestic animals. The high density of ocelots on Barro Colorado Island may contribute to a high prevalence of FIV infection, as would be expected with increased contact rates among conspecifics in a geographically restricted population.
Barro Colorado Island; FIV; Leopardus; ocelot; serology
To show with examples that syndromic surveillance system can be a reactive tool for public health surveillance.
The late health events such as the heat wave of 2003 showed the need to make public health surveillance evolve in France. Thus, the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance has developed syndromic surveillance systems based on several information sources such as emergency departments (1). In Reunion Island, the chikungunya outbreak of 2005–2006, then the influenza pandemic of 2009 contributed to the implementation and the development of this surveillance system (2–3). In the past years, this tool allowed to follow and measure the impact of seasonal epidemics. Nevertheless, its usefulness for the detection of minor unusual events had yet to be demonstrated.
In Reunion Island, the syndromic surveillance system is based on the activity of six emergency departments. Two types of indicators are constructed from collected data:
- Qualitative indicators for the alert (every visit whose diagnostic relates to a notifiable disease or potential epidemic disease);- Quantitative indicators for the epidemic/cluster detection (number of visits based on syndromic grouping).
Daily and weekly analyses are carried out. A decision algorithm allows to validate the signal and to organize an epidemiological investigation if necessary.
Each year, about 150 000 visits are registered in the six emergency departments that is 415 consultations per day on average. Several unusual health events on small-scale were detected early.
In August 2011, the surveillance system allowed to detect the first autochthonous cases of measles, a few days before this notifiable disease was reported to health authorities (Figure 1). In January 2012, the data of emergency departments allowed to validate the signal of viral meningitis as well as to detect a cluster in the West of the island and to follow its trend. In June 2012, a family foodborne illness was detected from a spatio-temporal cluster for abdominal pain by the surveillance system and was confirmed by epidemiological investigation (Figure 2).
Despite the improvement of exchanges with health practitioners and the development of specific surveillance systems, health surveillance remains fragile for the detection of clusters or unusual health events on small scale. The syndromic surveillance system based on emergency visits has proved to be relevant for the identification of signals leading to health alerts and requiring immediate control measures. In the future, it will be necessary to develop these systems (private practitioners, sentinel schools) in order to have several indicators depending on the degree of severity.
Syndromic surveillance; Unusual event detection; Reunion Island
Complex and dynamic interactions involving domestic animals, wildlife, and humans create environments favorable to the emergence of new diseases, or reemergence of diseases in new host species. Today, reservoirs of Mycobacterium bovis, the causative agent of tuberculosis in animals, and sometimes humans, exist in a range of countries and wild animal populations. Free-ranging populations of white-tailed deer in the US, brushtail possum in New Zealand, badger in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, and wild boar in Spain exemplify established reservoirs of M. bovis. Establishment of these reservoirs is the result of factors such as spillover from livestock, translocation of wildlife, supplemental feeding of wildlife, and wildlife population densities beyond normal habitat carrying capacities. As many countries attempt to eradicate M. bovis from livestock, efforts are impeded by spillback from wildlife reservoirs. It will not be possible to eradicate this important zoonosis from livestock unless transmission between wildlife and domestic animals is halted. Such an endeavor will require a collaborative effort between agricultural, wildlife, environmental, and political interests.
Although there has been a reduction of rabies in pets and domestic animals during recent decades in the United States, rabies remains enzootic among bats and several species of terrestrial wildlife. Spillover transmission of wildlife rabies to domestic animals therefore remains a public health threat
Retrospective analysis of surveillance data of reported animal incidents (bites, scratches, mucous membrane contacts) from South Carolina, 1995 to 2003, was performed to assess risk factors of potential rabies exposures among human and animal victims.
Dogs and cats contributed the majority (66.7% and 26.4%, respectively) of all reported incidents, with stray dogs and cats contributing 9.0% and 15.1 respectively. Current rabies vaccination status of dogs and cats (40.2% and 13.8%, respectively) were below World Health Organization recommended levels. Owned cats were half as likely to be vaccinated for rabies as dogs (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.48, 0.58). Animal victims were primarily exposed to wildlife (83.0%), of which 27.5% were rabid. Almost 90% of confirmed rabies exposures were due to wildlife. Skunks had the highest prevalence of rabies among species of exposure animals (63.2%). Among rabid domestic animals, stray cats were the most commonly reported (47.4%).
While the majority of reported potential rabies exposures are associated with dog and cat incidents, most rabies exposures derive from rabid wildlife. Stray cats were most frequently rabid among domestic animals. Our results underscore the need for improvement of wildlife rabies control and the reduction of interactions of domestic animals, including cats, with wildlife.
The bacterium Mycoplasma agalactiae is responsible for contagious agalactia (CA) in small domestic ruminants, a syndrome listed by the World Organization for Animal Health and responsible for severe damage to the dairy industry. Recently, we frequently isolated this pathogen from lung lesions of ibexes during a mortality episode in the French Alps. This situation was unusual in terms of host specificity and tissue tropism, raising the question of M. agalactiae emergence in wildlife. To address this issue, the ibex isolates were characterized using a combination of approaches that included antigenic profiles, molecular typing, optical mapping, and whole-genome sequencing. Genome analyses showed the presence of a new, large prophage containing 35 coding sequences (CDS) that was detected in most but not all ibex strains and has a homolog in Mycoplasma conjunctivae, a species causing keratoconjunctivitis in wild ungulates. This and the presence in all strains of large integrated conjugative elements suggested highly dynamic genomes. Nevertheless, M. agalactiae strains circulating in the ibex population were shown to be highly related, most likely originating from a single parental clone that has also spread to another wild ungulate species of the same geographical area, the chamois. These strains clearly differ from strains described in Europe so far, including those found nearby, before CA eradication a few years ago. While M. agalactiae pathogenicity in ibexes remains unclear, our data showed the emergence of atypical strains in Alpine wild ungulates, raising the question of a role for the wild fauna as a potential reservoir of pathogenic mycoplasmas.
A crucial goal of infectious disease surveillance is the early detection of epidemics, which is essential for disease control. In China, the current surveillance system is based on confirmed case reports. In rural China, it is not practical for health units to perform laboratory tests to confirm disease and people are more likely to get 'old' and emerging infectious diseases due to poor living conditions and closer contacts with wild animals and poultry. Syndromic surveillance, which collects non-specific syndromes before diagnosis, has great advantages in promoting the early detection of epidemics and reducing the necessities of disease confirmation. It will be especially effective for surveillance in resource poor settings.
This is a field experimental study. The experimental tool is an innovative electronic surveillance system, combining syndromic surveillance with the existing case report surveillance in four selected counties in China. In the added syndromic surveillance, three types of data are collected including patients' major symptoms from health clinics, pharmaceutical sales from pharmacies and absenteeism information from primary school. In order to evaluate the early warning capability of the new added syndromic surveillance, the timelines and validity of the alert signals will be analyzed in comparison with the traditional case reporting system. The acceptability, feasibility and economic evaluation of the whole integrated surveillance system will be conducted in a before and after study design.
Although syndromic surveillance system has mostly been established in developed areas, there are opportunities and advantages of developing it in rural China. The project will contribute to knowledge, experience and evidence on the establishment of an integrated surveillance system, which aims to provide early warning of disease epidemics in developing countries.
Syndromic surveillance; infectious disease; early warning; resource limited settings
Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease of global importance infecting humans, domestic animals, and wildlife. Little is known about the epidemiology and persistence of brucellosis in wildlife in Southern Africa, particularly in Botswana.
Archived wildlife samples from Botswana (1995–2000) were screened with the Rose Bengal Test (RBT) and fluorescence polarization assay (FPA) and included the African buffalo (247), bushbuck (1), eland (5), elephant (25), gemsbok (1), giraffe (9), hartebeest (12), impala (171), kudu (27), red lechwe (10), reedbuck (1), rhino (2), springbok (5), steenbok (2), warthog (24), waterbuck (1), wildebeest (33), honey badger (1), lion (43), and zebra (21). Human case data were extracted from government annual health reports (1974–2006).
Only buffalo (6%, 95% CI 3.04%–8.96%) and giraffe (11%, 95% CI 0–38.43%) were confirmed seropositive on both tests. Seropositive buffalo were widely distributed across the buffalo range where cattle density was low. Human infections were reported in low numbers with most infections (46%) occurring in children (<14 years old) and no cases were reported among people working in the agricultural sector.
Low seroprevalence of brucellosis in Botswana buffalo in a previous study in 1974 and again in this survey suggests an endemic status of the disease in this species. Buffalo, a preferred source of bush meat, is utilized both legally and illegally in Botswana. Household meat processing practices can provide widespread pathogen exposure risk to family members and the community, identifying an important source of zoonotic pathogen transmission potential. Although brucellosis may be controlled in livestock populations, public health officials need to be alert to the possibility of human infections arising from the use of bush meat. This study illustrates the need for a unified approach in infectious disease research that includes consideration of both domestic and wildlife sources of infection in determining public health risks from zoonotic disease invasions.
Routine disease surveillance has been conducted for decades in mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in California for pathogens shared between wildlife and domestic ruminants that may have implications for the animal production industry and wildlife health. Deer sampled from 1990 to 2007 (n = 2,619) were tested for exposure to six pathogens: bluetongue virus (BTV), epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV), bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), Leptospira spp., Anaplasma spp. and Brucella spp. We evaluated the relationship between exposure to these pathogens and demographic risk factors to identify broad patterns in seroprevalence across a large temporal and spatial scale. The overall seroprevalence for the entire study period was 13.4% for BTV, 16.8% for EHDV, 17.1% for BVDV, 6.5% for Leptospira spp., 0.2% for Brucella spp., and 17% for Anaplasma spp. Antibodies against BTV and EHDV were most prevalent in the deer populations of southern California. Antibodies against Leptospira spp. and Anaplasma spp. were most prevalent in coastal and central northern California whereas antibodies against BVDV were most prevalent in central-eastern and northeastern California. The overall seroprevalence for Anaplasma spp. was slightly lower than detected in previous studies. North and central eastern California contains large tracts of federal land grazed by livestock; therefore, possible contact between deer and livestock could explain the high BVDV seroprevalence found in these areas. Findings from this study will help to establish baseline values for future comparisons of pathogen exposure in deer, inform on long-term trends in deer population health and provide relevant information on the distribution of diseases that are shared between wildlife and livestock.
Review concept of situation awareness (SA) as it relates to public health surveillance, epidemiology and preparedness . Outline hierarchical levels and organizational criteria for SA . Initiate consensus building process aimed at developing a working definition and measurable outcomes and metrics for SA as they relate to syndromic surveillance practice and evaluation.
A decade ago, the primary objective of syndromic surveillance was bioterrorism and outbreak early event detection (EED) . Syndromic systems for EED focused on rapid, automated data collection, processing and statistical anomaly detection of indicators of potential bioterrorism or outbreak events. The paradigm presented a clear and testable surveillance objective: the early detection of outbreaks or events of public health concern. Limited success in practice and limited rigorous evaluation, however, led to the conclusion that syndromic surveillance could not reliably or accurately achieve EED objectives. At the federal level, the primary rationale for syndromic surveillance shifted away from bioterrorism EED, and towards all-hazards biosurveillance and SA [4–6]. The shift from EED to SA occurred without a clear evaluation of EED objectives, and without a clear definition of the scope or meaning of SA in practice. Since public health SA has not been clearly defined in terms of operational surveillance objectives, statistical or epidemiological methods, or measurable outcomes and metrics, the use of syndromic surveillance to achieve SA cannot be evaluated.
This session is intended to provide a forum to discuss SA in the context of public health disease surveillance practice. The roundtable will focus on defining SA in the context of public health syndromic and epidemiologic surveillance. While SA is often noted in federal level documents as a primary rationale for biosurveillance [1, 4–6], it is rarely defined or described in operational detail. One working definition presents SA as “real-time analysis and display of health data to monitor the location, magnitude, and spread of an outbreak”, yet it does not elaborate on the methods, systems or evaluation requirements for SA in public health or biosurveillance . In terms of translating SA into public health surveillance practice , we will discuss and define the requirements of public health SA based on its development and practice in other areas . The proposed theoretical framework and evaluation criteria adapted and applied to public health SA  follow:
- Level 1: Perceive relevant surveillance data and epidemiological information.- Level 2: Integrate surveillance and non-surveillance data in conjunction with operator goals to provide understanding of the meaning of the information.- Level 3: Through perceiving (Level 1) and integrating and understanding (Level 2) provide prediction of future events and system states to allow for timely and effective public health decision making.
Sample questions for discussion: What is the relevance of syndromic surveillance and biosurveillance in the SA framework? Where does it fit within the current public health surveillance environment? To achieve the roundtable discussion objectives, the participants will work towards a consensus definition of SA for public health, and will outline measureable outcomes and metrics for evaluation of syndromic surveillance for public health SA.
evaluation; biosurveillance; situational awareness; syndromic surveillance; local public health
Protection of public health from rabies is informed by the analysis of surveillance data from human and animal populations. In Canada, public health, agricultural and wildlife agencies at the provincial and federal level are responsible for rabies disease control, and this has led to multiple agency-specific data repositories. Aggregation of agency-specific data into one database application would enable more comprehensive data analyses and effective communication among participating agencies. In Québec, RageDB was developed to house surveillance data for the raccoon rabies variant, representing the next generation in web-based database applications that provide a key resource for the protection of public health.
RageDB incorporates data from, and grants access to, all agencies responsible for the surveillance of raccoon rabies in Québec. Technological advancements of RageDB to rabies surveillance databases include 1) automatic integration of multi-agency data and diagnostic results on a daily basis; 2) a web-based data editing interface that enables authorized users to add, edit and extract data; and 3) an interactive dashboard to help visualize data simply and efficiently, in table, chart, and cartographic formats. Furthermore, RageDB stores data from citizens who voluntarily report sightings of rabies suspect animals. We also discuss how sightings data can indicate public perception to the risk of racoon rabies and thus aid in directing the allocation of disease control resources for protecting public health.
RageDB provides an example in the evolution of spatio-temporal database applications for the storage, analysis and communication of disease surveillance data. The database was fast and inexpensive to develop by using open-source technologies, simple and efficient design strategies, and shared web hosting. The database increases communication among agencies collaborating to protect human health from raccoon rabies. Furthermore, health agencies have real-time access to a wide assortment of data documenting new developments in the raccoon rabies epidemic and this enables a more timely and appropriate response.
Zoonotic viruses are infectious organisms transmittable between animals and humans. Agencies of public health, agriculture, and wildlife conduct surveillance of zoonotic viruses and often report data on their websites. However, the format and characteristics of these data are not known.
To describe and compare the format and characteristics of statistics of zoonotic viruses on state public health, agriculture, and wildlife agency websites.
For each state, we considered the websites of that state’s public health, agriculture, and wildlife agency. For each website, we noted the presence of any statistics for zoonotic viruses from 2000-2012. We analyzed the data using numerous categories including type of statistic, temporal and geographic level of detail, and format. We prioritized our analysis within each category based on assumptions of individuals’ preferences for extracting and analyzing data from websites. Thus, if two types of data (such as city and state-level) were present for a given virus in a given year, we counted the one with higher priority (city). External links from agency sites to other websites were not considered.
From 2000-2012, state health departments had the most extensive virus data, followed by agriculture, and then wildlife. We focused on the seven viruses that were common across the three agencies. These included rabies, West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, western equine encephalitis, influenza, and dengue fever. Simple numerical totals were most often used to report the data (89% for public health, 81% for agriculture, and 82% for wildlife), and proportions were not different (chi-square P=.15). Public health data were most often presented yearly (66%), while agriculture and wildlife agencies often described cases as they occurred (Fisher’s Exact test P<.001). Regarding format, public health agencies had more downloadable PDF files (68%), while agriculture (61%) and wildlife agencies (46%) presented data directly in the text of the HTML webpage (Fisher’s Exact test P<.001). Demographics and other information including age, gender, and host were limited. Finally, a Fisher’s Exact test showed no association between geography data and agency type (P=.08). However, it was noted that agriculture department data was often at the county level (63%), while public health was mixed between county (38%) and state (35%).
This study focused on the format and characteristics of statistics of zoonotic viruses on websites of state public health, wildlife, and agriculture agencies in the context of population health surveillance. Data on zoonotic viruses varied across agencies presenting challenges for researchers needing to integrate animal and human data from different websites.
public health; zoonoses; World Wide Web; epidemiology; data analysis
To describe detection and response for an erysipelas outbreak in market swine in the United States (U.S.) using Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) slaughter condemnation data, and coordination with the swine industry in an Enhanced Passive Surveillance (EPS) pilot project.
EPS is a comprehensive effort to complement other types of surveillance and provide early detection and situational awareness of significant endemic, zoonotic, and emerging diseases of livestock. The concept for EPS involves gathering syndromic and observational data from multiple animal health surveillance sources, including private practitioners, livestock markets, livestock harvest facilities, and veterinary diagnostic laboratories. A signal indicating a potential animal health event in one data stream can be corroborated in the other streams. For swine surveillance in the U.S., USDA-APHIS monitors the number of swine condemned for specific reasons. Likewise, industry practitioners share front-line clinical information within their practitioner network to detect anomalies. This case summary demonstrates the successful outcome of implementing an EPS pilot program through Federal and industry partnership.
FSIS Animal Disposition Reporting System swine condemnation data are monitored by USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services (VS) for several condemn conditions, including erysipelas, a bacterial disease of swine. Typically, slaughter condemnations for erysipelas are rare. The monitored data represent 83 market swine harvest facilities throughout the U.S. A modification of the ‘C3’CUSUM aberration detection method from the Early Aberration Reporting System (EARS) is applied to the data at both the slaughter plant level and at a larger multi-plant swine catchment basin level which represents separate swine production areas. The National Pork Board (NPB), a U.S. swine producer association, hosts a quarterly conference call with a sentinel network of swine veterinarians to exchange information about anomalies in swine health observed by practitioners. During mid-February 2012, several practitioners suspected a local increase in erysipelas in finishing swine. Absent baseline data on erysipelas occurrence nationally, the scope of the problem was uncertain. Following the call, the NPB in collaboration with VS attempted to validate the information reported by swine practitioners.
Beginning the week of January 8, 2012, VS analysts noted a slight increase in erysipelas CUSUM signaling activity in the greater Iowa catchment basin slaughter plants. During the seven-week period between January 8 and February 25, eight weekly plant-level CUSUM signals were observed, while the previous 36-week period yielded only fourteen plant-level signals. On average, 0.39 signals per week were noted in the weeks prior to the outbreak period while the corresponding average for the seven-week outbreak period was 1.14 plant signals per week. Seven of the eight plants that signaled during the outbreak period did not report large weekly spikes; however, the weekly accumulation of condemns were sufficient to trigger concern. Since the erysipelas signals were not large compared to the background noise, there was uncertainty whether the increased signaling activity truly represented a disease event. After cross validating the slaughter surveillance data with front line practitioner information, a swine health alert regarding the increase in erysipelas cases was issued by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. Intervention measures were initiated as deemed appropriate by each private veterinarian.
This example of an Enhanced Passive Surveillance Program demonstrates use of independent streams of information from government and private industry to detect an outbreak of erysipelas in market swine. The communication process was facilitated by the NPB and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, and coordinated with the industry resulting in an appropriate response to prevent swine losses at very early stages of the outbreak. Corroboration and validation between the two data streams (slaughter and practitioner) provided confidence that an outbreak was beginning and assisted the swine industry in decision making to enhance disease prevention activities. This type of early warning and response can reduce the cost of disease outbreaks to swine producers as well as provide confidence in the national disease status for swine in the United States.
animal health surveillance; Federal and industry partnership; enhanced passive surveillance; swine erysipelas
Soil productivity effects nutritive quality of food plants, growth of humans and animals, and reproductive health of domestic animals. Game-range surveys sometimes poorly explained variations in wildlife populations, but classification of survey data by major soil types improved effectiveness. Our study evaluates possible health effects of lower condition and reproductive rates for wild populations of Odocoileus virginianus Zimmerman (white-tailed deer) in some physiographic regions of Mississippi. We analyzed condition and reproductive data for 2400 female deer from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks herd health evaluations from 1991–1998. We evaluated age, body mass (Mass), kidney mass, kidney fat mass, number of corpora lutea (CL) and fetuses, as well as fetal ages. Region affected kidney fat index (KFI), which is a body condition index, and numbers of fetuses of adults (P ≤ 0.001). Region affected numbers of CL of adults (P ≤ 0.002). Mass and conception date (CD) were affected (P ≤ 0.001) by region which interacted significantly with age for Mass (P ≤ 0.001) and CD (P < 0.04). Soil region appears to be a major factor influencing physical characteristics of female deer.
body mass; corpora lutea; fetus; kidney fat index; Mississippi; Odocoileus virginianus; physiographic region; soil productivity; white-tailed deer
Wildlife and exotic pets represent large reservoirs for emerging zoonoses.
Most emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic; wildlife constitutes a large and often unknown reservoir. Wildlife can also be a source for reemergence of previously controlled zoonoses. Although the discovery of such zoonoses is often related to better diagnostic tools, the leading causes of their emergence are human behavior and modifications to natural habitats (expansion of human populations and their encroachment on wildlife habitat), changes in agricultural practices, and globalization of trade. However, other factors include wildlife trade and translocation, live animal and bushmeat markets, consumption of exotic foods, development of ecotourism, access to petting zoos, and ownership of exotic pets. To reduce risk for emerging zoonoses, the public should be educated about the risks associated with wildlife, bushmeat, and exotic pet trades; and proper surveillance systems should be implemented.
Emerging zoonoses; wildlife; ecotourism; exotic pets; synopsis
During the last decade, the role of wildlife in emerging pathogen transmission to domestic animals has often been pointed out. Conversely, far less attention has been paid to pathogen transmission from domestic animals to wildlife. Here, we focus on the case of game restocking, which implies the release of millions of animals worldwide each year. We conducted a 2-year study in the Camargue (Southern France) to investigate the influence of hand-reared Mallard releases on avian influenza virus dynamics in surrounding wildlife. We sampled Mallards (cloacal swabs) from several game duck facilities in 2009 and 2010 before their release. A very high (99%) infection rate caused by an H10N7 strain was detected in the game bird facility we sampled in 2009. We did not detect this strain in shot ducks we sampled, neither during the 2008/2009 nor the 2009/2010 hunting seasons. In 2010 infection rates ranged from 0 to 24% in hand-reared ducks. The 2009 H10N7 strain was fully sequenced. It results from multiple reassortment events between Eurasian low pathogenic strains. Interestingly, H10N7 strains had previously caused human infections in Egypt and Australia. The H10 and N7 segments we sequenced were clearly distinct from the Australian ones but they belonged to the same large cluster as the Egyptian ones. We did not observe any mutation linked to increased virulence, transmission to mammals, or antiviral resistance in the H10N7 strain we identified. Our results indicate that the potential role of hand-reared Mallards in influenza virus epizootics must be taken into account given the likely risk of viral exchange between game bird facilities and wild habitats, owing to duck rearing conditions. Measures implemented to limit transmission from wildlife to domestic animals as well as measures to control transmission from domestic animals to wild ones need to be equally reinforced.