Darwin’s frogs (Rhinoderma darwinii and R. rufum) are two species of mouth brooding frogs from Chile and Argentina that have experienced marked population declines. Rhinoderma rufum has not been found in the wild since 1980. We investigated historical and current evidence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) infection in Rhinoderma spp. to determine whether chytridiomycosis is implicated in the population declines of these species. Archived and live specimens of Rhinoderma spp., sympatric amphibians and amphibians at sites where Rhinoderma sp. had recently gone extinct were examined for Bd infection using quantitative real-time PCR. Six (0.9%) of 662 archived anurans tested positive for Bd (4/289 R. darwinii; 1/266 R. rufum and 1/107 other anurans), all of which had been collected between 1970 and 1978. An overall Bd-infection prevalence of 12.5% was obtained from 797 swabs taken from 369 extant individuals of R. darwinii and 428 individuals representing 18 other species of anurans found at sites with current and recent presence of the two Rhinoderma species. In extant R. darwinii, Bd-infection prevalence (1.9%) was significantly lower than that found in other anurans (7.3%). The prevalence of infection (30%) in other amphibian species was significantly higher in sites where either Rhinoderma spp. had become extinct or was experiencing severe population declines than in sites where there had been no apparent decline (3.0%; x2 = 106.407, P<0.001). This is the first report of widespread Bd presence in Chile and our results are consistent with Rhinoderma spp. declines being due to Bd infection, although additional field and laboratory investigations are required to investigate this further.
Finch trichomonosis, caused by the protozoal parasite Trichomonas gallinae, was first recognized as an emerging infectious disease of British passerines in 2005. The first year of seasonal epidemic mortality occurred in 2006 with significant declines of greenfinch Carduelis chloris and chaffinch Fringilla coelebs populations. Here, we demonstrate that large-scale mortality, principally of greenfinch, continued in subsequent years, 2007–2009, with a shifting geographical distribution across the British Isles over time. Consequent to the emergence of finch trichomonosis, the breeding greenfinch population in Great Britain has declined from ca 4.3 million to ca 2.8 million birds and the maximum mean number of greenfinches (a proxy for flock size) visiting gardens has declined by 50 per cent. The annual rate of decline of the breeding greenfinch population within England has exceeded 7 per cent since the initial epidemic. Although initially chaffinch populations were regionally diminished by the disease, this has not continued. Retrospective analyses of disease surveillance data showed a rapid, widespread emergence of finch trichomonosis across Great Britain in 2005 and we hypothesize that the disease emerged by T. gallinae jumping from columbiforms to passeriforms. Further investigation is required to determine the continuing impact of finch trichomonosis and to develop our understanding of how protozoal diseases jump host species.
Trichomonas gallinae; trichomonosis; greenfinch; Carduelis chloris; emerging infectious disease; population decline
Fibrotic disorders of the lung are associated with perturbations in the plasminogen activation system. Specifically, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) expression is increased relative to the plasminogen activators. A direct role for this imbalance in modulating the severity of lung scarring following injury has been substantiated in the bleomycin model of pulmonary fibrosis. However, it remains unclear whether derangements in the plasminogen activation system contribute more generally to the pathogenesis of lung fibrosis beyond bleomycin injury. To answer this question, we employed an alternative model of lung scarring, in which type II alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) are specifically injured by administering diphtheria toxin (DT) to mice genetically engineered to express the human DT receptor (DTR) off the surfactant protein C promoter. This targeted AEC injury results in the diffuse accumulation of interstitial collagen. In the present study, we found that this targeted type II cell insult also increases PAI-1 expression in the alveolar compartment. We identified AECs and lung macrophages to be sources of PAI-1 production. To determine whether this elevated PAI-1 concentration was directly related to the severity of fibrosis, DTR+ mice were crossed into a PAI-1-deficient background (DTR+: PAI-1−/−). DT administration to DTR+: PAI-1−/− animals caused significantly less fibrosis than was measured in DTR+ mice with intact PAI-1 production. PAI-1 deficiency also abrogated the accumulation of CD11b+ exudate macrophages that were found to express PAI-1 and type-1 collagen. These observations substantiate the critical function of PAI-1 in pulmonary fibrosis pathogenesis and provide new insight into a potential mechanism by which this pro-fibrotic molecule influences collagen accumulation.
PAI-1; lung; fibrosis; macrophage
Few mammals—cetaceans, domestic cats and select bats and rodents—can send and receive vocal signals contained within the ultrasonic domain, or pure ultrasound (greater than 20 kHz). Here, we use the auditory brainstem response (ABR) method to demonstrate that a species of nocturnal primate, the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), has a high-frequency limit of auditory sensitivity of ca 91 kHz. We also recorded a vocalization with a dominant frequency of 70 kHz. Such values are among the highest recorded for any terrestrial mammal, and a relatively extreme example of ultrasonic communication. For Philippine tarsiers, ultrasonic vocalizations might represent a private channel of communication that subverts detection by predators, prey and competitors, enhances energetic efficiency, or improves detection against low-frequency background noise.
ultrasound; sensory ecology; bioacoustics; auditory brainstem response; evoked potential audiogram
The structure and function of primate communication have attracted much attention, and vocal signals, in particular, have been studied in detail. As a general rule, larger social groups emit more types of vocal signals, including those conveying the presence of specific types of predators. The adaptive advantages of receiving and responding to alarm calls are expected to exert a selective pressure on the auditory system. Yet, the comparative biology of primate hearing is limited to select species, and little attention has been paid to the effects of social and vocal complexity on hearing. Here, we use the auditory brainstem response method to generate the largest number of standardized audiograms available for any primate radiation. We compared the auditory sensitivities of 11 strepsirrhine species with and without independent contrasts and show that social complexity explains a significant amount of variation in two audiometric parameters—overall sensitivity and high-frequency limit. We verified the generality of this latter result by augmenting our analysis with published data from nine species spanning the primate order. To account for these findings, we develop and test a model of social drive. We hypothesize that social complexity has favoured enhanced hearing sensitivities, especially at higher frequencies.
Strepsirrhini; hearing; auditory brainstem response; evoked potential audiogram; sensory ecology; acoustic communication
Viral emergence as a result of zoonotic transmission constitutes a continuous public health threat. Emerging viruses such as SARS coronavirus, hantaviruses and henipaviruses have wildlife reservoirs. Characterising the viruses of candidate reservoir species in geographical hot spots for viral emergence is a sensible approach to develop tools to predict, prevent, or contain emergence events. Here, we explore the viruses of Eidolon helvum, an Old World fruit bat species widely distributed in Africa that lives in close proximity to humans. We identified a great abundance and diversity of novel herpes and papillomaviruses, described the isolation of a novel adenovirus, and detected, for the first time, sequences of a chiropteran poxvirus closely related with Molluscum contagiosum. In sum, E. helvum display a wide variety of mammalian viruses, some of them genetically similar to known human pathogens, highlighting the possibility of zoonotic transmission.
•The first metagenomic study of a chiropteran (bat) suborder.•Demonstrates a novel and thorough bioinformatics pipeline for metagenomic studies.•Multiple novel, diverse viruses present in an urban African bat bushmeat species.•The study is supported with further molecular evidence and virus isolation.•The study contains the first evidence of chiropteran poxviruses and a novel bat adenovirus isolate.
Virome; Bat; Megabat; Poxvirus; Viral emergence; Metagenomics; Adenovirus
Darwin’s frogs (Rhinoderma darwinii and R. rufum) are two species of mouth-brooding frogs from Chile and Argentina. Here, we present evidence on the extent of declines, current distribution and conservation status of Rhinoderma spp.; including information on abundance, habitat and threats to extant Darwin’s frog populations. All known archived Rhinoderma specimens were examined in museums in North America, Europe and South America. Extensive surveys were carried out throughout the historical ranges of R. rufum and R. darwinii from 2008 to 2012. Literature review and location data of 2,244 archived specimens were used to develop historical distribution maps for Rhinoderma spp. Based on records of sightings, optimal linear estimation was used to estimate whether R. rufum can be considered extinct. No extant R. rufum was found and our modelling inferred that this species became extinct in 1982 (95% CI, 1980–2000). Rhinoderma darwinii was found in 36 sites. All populations were within native forest and abundance was highest in Chiloé Island, when compared with Coast, Andes and South populations. Estimated population size and density (five populations) averaged 33.2 frogs/population (range, 10.2–56.3) and 14.9 frogs/100 m2 (range, 5.3–74.1), respectively. Our results provide further evidence that R. rufum is extinct and indicate that R. darwinii has declined to a much greater degree than previously recognised. Although this species can still be found across a large part of its historical range, remaining populations are small and severely fragmented. Conservation efforts for R. darwinii should be stepped up and the species re-classified as Endangered.
Increased connectivity with the mainland has led to the arrival of many invasive species to the Galápagos Islands, including novel pathogens, threatening the archipelago's unique fauna. Here we consider the potential role of the mosquito Aedes taeniorhynchus in maintaining the flavivirus West Nile virus [WNV] should it reach the islands. We report on three components of vectorial capacity - vector competency, distributional abundance and host-feeding. In contrast to USA strains, Galápagos A. taeniorhynchus is a competent and efficient WNV vector, capable of transmission at 5 days post-exposure. Based on 25 blood-meals, mammalian feeding suggests a potential bridge vector role should contact with key amplification taxa occur. Vector population abundance is driven primarily by climatic factors, peaking between January and March. As a ubiquitous competent vector, A. taeniorhynchus may facilitate future WNV establishment, therefore it is vital to ensure the biosecurity of Galápagos to prevent introductions of pathogens such as WNV.
Eidolon helvum is widely distributed across sub-Saharan Africa where it forms large, dense colonies. The species is migratory and satellite telemetry studies have demonstrated that individuals can migrate over 2,500 km. It is a common source of bush meat in West Africa and evidence of infection with potentially zoonotic viruses has been found in West African colonies. The species, therefore, is of interest to both ecologists and those interested in public health. Despite this, demographic parameters of the species are unknown. We focused our study primarily on a colony of up to 1,000,000 bats that roost in trees in Accra, Ghana to obtain estimates of birth rate and survival probability. Aging of bats by examination of tooth cementum annuli allowed use of life tables to indicate an annual survival probability for juveniles of 0.43 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.16–0.77) and for adults of 0.83 (95% CI 0.73–0.93). Additionally, an annual adult survival probability of 0.63 (95% CI 0.27–0.88) was estimated by following 98 radiocollared bats over a year; capture–recapture data were analyzed using multistate models to address the confounding factor of emigration. True survival probabilities may be in between the 2 estimates, because permanent emigration may lead to underestimation in the capture–recapture study, and population decline may lead to overestimation in the life table analysis. Birth rates (0.96 young per female per year, 95% CI 0.92–0.98) and colony size changes were also estimated. Estimation of these key parameters will allow future analyses of both infection dynamics within, and harvest sustainability of, E. helvum populations.
capture–recapture; Eidolon helvum; multistate model; population dynamics; survival; tooth cementum
A putative driver of global amphibian decline is the panzootic chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). While Bd has been documented across continental Africa, its distribution in West Africa remains ambiguous. We tested 793 West African amphibians (one caecilian and 61 anuran species) for the presence of Bd. The samples originated from seven West African countries - Bénin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone - and were collected from a variety of habitats, ranging from lowland rainforests to montane forests, montane grasslands to humid and dry lowland savannahs. The species investigated comprised various life-history strategies, but we focused particularly on aquatic and riparian species. We used diagnostic PCR to screen 656 specimen swabs and histology to analyse 137 specimen toe tips. All samples tested negative for Bd, including a widespread habitat generalist Hoplobatrachus occipitalis which is intensively traded on the West African food market and thus could be a potential dispersal agent for Bd. Continental fine-grained (30 arc seconds) environmental niche models suggest that Bd should have a broad distribution across West Africa that includes most of the regions and habitats that we surveyed. The surprising apparent absence of Bd in West Africa indicates that the Dahomey Gap may have acted as a natural barrier. Herein we highlight the importance of this Bd-free region of the African continent - especially for the long-term conservation of several threatened species depending on fast flowing forest streams (Conraua alleni (“Vulnerable”) and Petropedetes natator (“Near Threatened”)) as well as the “Critically Endangered” viviparous toad endemic to the montane grasslands of Mount Nimba (Nimbaphrynoides occidentalis).
Bats carry a variety of paramyxoviruses that impact human and domestic animal health when spillover occurs. Recent studies have shown a great diversity of paramyxoviruses in an urban-roosting population of straw-colored fruit bats in Ghana. Here, we investigate this further through virus isolation and describe two novel rubulaviruses: Achimota virus 1 (AchPV1) and Achimota virus 2 (AchPV2). The viruses form a phylogenetic cluster with each other and other bat-derived rubulaviruses, such as Tuhoko viruses, Menangle virus, and Tioman virus. We developed AchPV1- and AchPV2-specific serological assays and found evidence of infection with both viruses in Eidolon helvum across sub-Saharan Africa and on islands in the Gulf of Guinea. Longitudinal sampling of E. helvum indicates virus persistence within fruit bat populations and suggests spread of AchPVs via horizontal transmission. We also detected possible serological evidence of human infection with AchPV2 in Ghana and Tanzania. It is likely that clinically significant zoonotic spillover of chiropteran paramyxoviruses could be missed throughout much of Africa where health surveillance and diagnostics are poor and comorbidities, such as infection with HIV or Plasmodium sp., are common.
Avian pox is a viral disease with a wide host range. In Great Britain, avian pox in birds of the Paridae family was first diagnosed in a great tit (Parus major) from south-east England in 2006. An increasing number of avian pox incidents in Paridae have been reported each year since, indicative of an emergent infection. Here, we utilise a database of opportunistic reports of garden bird mortality and morbidity to analyse spatial and temporal patterns of suspected avian pox throughout Great Britain, 2006–2010. Reports of affected Paridae (211 incidents) outnumbered reports in non-Paridae (91 incidents). The majority (90%) of Paridae incidents involved great tits. Paridae pox incidents were more likely to involve multiple individuals (77.3%) than were incidents in non-Paridae hosts (31.9%). Unlike the small wart-like lesions usually seen in non-Paridae with avian pox in Great Britain, lesions in Paridae were frequently large, often with an ulcerated surface and caseous core. Spatial analyses revealed strong clustering of suspected avian pox incidents involving Paridae hosts, but only weak, inconsistent clustering of incidents involving non-Paridae hosts. There was no spatial association between Paridae and non-Paridae incidents. We documented significant spatial spread of Paridae pox from an origin in south-east England; no spatial spread was evident for non-Paridae pox. For both host clades, there was an annual peak of reports in August/September. Sequencing of the avian poxvirus 4b core protein produced an identical viral sequence from each of 20 great tits tested from Great Britain. This sequence was identical to that from great tits from central Europe and Scandinavia. In contrast, sequence variation was evident amongst virus tested from 17 non-Paridae hosts of 5 species. Our findings show Paridae pox to be an emerging infectious disease in wild birds in Great Britain, apparently originating from viral incursion from central Europe or Scandinavia.
Emerging infectious diseases of wildlife can have severe effects on host populations and constitute a pressing problem for biodiversity conservation. Paridae pox is an unusually severe form of avipoxvirus infection that has recently been identified as an emerging infectious disease particularly affecting an abundant songbird, the great tit (Parus major), in Great Britain. In this study, we study the invasion and establishment of Paridae pox in a long-term monitored population of wild great tits to (i) quantify the impact of this novel pathogen on host fitness and (ii) determine the potential threat it poses to population persistence. We show that Paridae pox significantly reduces the reproductive output of great tits by reducing the ability of parents to fledge young successfully and rear those young to independence. Our results also suggested that pathogen transmission from diseased parents to their offspring was possible, and that disease entails severe mortality costs for affected chicks. Application of multistate mark-recapture modelling showed that Paridae pox causes significant reductions to host survival, with particularly large effects observed for juvenile survival. Using an age-structured population model, we demonstrate that Paridae pox has the potential to reduce population growth rate, primarily through negative impacts on host survival rates. However, at currently observed prevalence, significant disease-induced population decline seems unlikely, although pox prevalence may be underestimated if capture probability of diseased individuals is low. Despite this, because pox-affected model populations exhibited lower average growth rates, this emerging infectious disease has the potential to reduce the resilience of populations to other environmental factors that reduce population size.
Paridae pox, a novel avipoxvirus infection, has recently been identified as an emerging infectious disease affecting wild tit species in Great Britain. The incursion of Paridae pox to a long-term study site where populations of wild tits have been monitored in detail for several decades provided a unique opportunity to obtain information on the local-scale epidemiological characteristics of this novel infection during a disease outbreak. Using captures of >8000 individual birds, we show that, within two years of initial emergence, Paridae pox had become established within the population of great tits (Parus major) reaching relatively high peak prevalence (10%), but was far less prevalent (<1%) in sympatric populations of several other closely related, abundant Paridae species. Nonlinear smoothing models revealed that the temporal pattern of prevalence among great tits was characterised by within-year fluctuations indicative of seasonal forcing of infection rates, which was likely driven by multiple environmental and demographic factors. There was individual heterogeneity in the course of infection and, although recovery was possible, diseased individuals were far less likely to be recaptured than healthy individuals, suggesting a survival cost of infection. This study demonstrates the value of long-term monitoring for obtaining key epidemiological data necessary to understand disease dynamics, spread and persistence in natural populations.
Many serious emerging zoonotic infections have recently arisen from bats, including Ebola, Marburg, SARS-coronavirus, Hendra, Nipah, and a number of rabies and rabies-related viruses, consistent with the overall observation that wildlife are an important source of emerging zoonoses for the human population. Mechanisms underlying the recognized association between ecosystem health and human health remain poorly understood and responding appropriately to the ecological, social and economic conditions that facilitate disease emergence and transmission represents a substantial societal challenge. In the context of disease emergence from wildlife, wildlife and habitat should be conserved, which in turn will preserve vital ecosystem structure and function, which has broader implications for human wellbeing and environmental sustainability, while simultaneously minimizing the spillover of pathogens from wild animals into human beings. In this review, we propose a novel framework for the holistic and interdisciplinary investigation of zoonotic disease emergence and its drivers, using the spillover of bat pathogens as a case study. This study has been developed to gain a detailed interdisciplinary understanding, and it combines cutting-edge perspectives from both natural and social sciences, linked to policy impacts on public health, land use and conservation.
bat; zoonosis; emergence; collaborative framework
An introduction to the theme issue that includes papers that identify how, where and why infectious diseases in wildlife emerge, while also addressing their possible conservation impacts.
disease invasion; disease emergence; emerging infectious disease; spillover; host–pathogen dynamics
The mosquito-transmitted pathogen West Nile virus (WNV) is not yet present in the Galápagos Archipelago of Ecuador. However, concern exists for fragile endemic island fauna after population decreases in several North American bird species and pathology in certain reptiles. We examined WNV vector competency of a Galápagos strain of mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus Say). Field specimens were tested for their capacity to transmit the WN02-1956 strain of WNV after incubation at 27°C or 30°C. Rates of infection, dissemination, and transmission all increased with days post-exposure to WNV, and the highest rates were observed at 28 days. Infection rates peaked at 59% and transmission rates peaked at 44% (of mosquitoes tested). Vector efficiency increased after day 14. Rates of infection but not of transmission were significantly influence by temperature. No vertical transmission was detectable. We demonstrate that Galápagos Cx. quinquefasciatus are competent WNV vectors, and therefore should be considered an animal and public health risk for the islands and controlled wherever possible.
Macrophages (Mp) and the plasminogen system play important roles in tissue repair following injury. We hypothesized that Mp-specific expression of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) is sufficient for Mp to migrate into damaged muscle and for efficient muscle regeneration. We generated transgenic mice expressing uPA only in Mp, and we assessed the ability of these mice to repair muscle injury. Mp-only uPA expression was sufficient to induce wild-type levels of Mp accumulation, angiogenesis, and new muscle fiber formation. In mice with wild-type uPA expression, Mp-specific overexpression further increased Mp accumulation and enhanced muscle fiber regeneration. Furthermore, Mp expression of uPA regulated the level of active hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), which is required for muscle fiber regeneration, in damaged muscle. In vitro studies demonstrated that uPA promotes Mp migration through proteolytic and non-proteolytic mechanisms, including proteolytic activation of HGF. In summary, Mp-derived uPA promotes muscle regeneration by inducing Mp migration, angiogenesis, and myogenesis.
viruses; Ebola virus; Ebolavirus sp.; Reston Ebola virus; REBOV; Zaire Ebola virus; ZEBOV; African fruit bats; Africa; Epomops franqueti; Epomophorus gambianus; Hypsignathus monstrosus; Nanonycteris veldkampii; Eidolon helvum; viruses; Ghana
Bleeding complications are a serious adverse effect of medications that prevent abnormal blood clotting. To facilitate epidemiologic investigations of bleeding complications, we developed and validated an automated database case definition for bleeding-related hospitalizations.
The case definition utilized information from an in-progress retrospective cohort study of warfarin-related bleeding in Tennessee Medicaid enrollees 30 years of age or older. It identified inpatient stays during the study period of January 1990 through December 2005 with diagnoses and/or procedures that indicated a current episode of bleeding. The definition was validated by medical record review for a sample of 236 hospitalizations.
We reviewed 186 hospitalizations that had medical records with sufficient information for adjudication. Of these, 165 (89% [95% CI, 83%-92%]) were clinically confirmed bleeding-related hospitalizations. An additional 19 hospitalizations (10% [7%-15%]) were adjudicated as possibly bleeding-related. Of the 165 clinically confirmed bleeding-related hospitalizations, the automated database and clinical definitions had concordant anatomical sites (gastrointestinal, cerebral, genitourinary, other) for 163 (99% [96%-100%]). For those hospitalizations with sufficient information to distinguish between upper/lower gastrointestinal bleeding, the concordance was 89%(76%-96%) for upper gastrointestinal sites and 91%(77%-97%) for lower gastrointestinal sites.
A case definition for bleeding-related hospitalizations suitable for automated databases had a positive predictive value of between 89% and 99% and could distinguish specific bleeding sites.
Salmonellosis is a frequently diagnosed infectious disease of passerine birds in garden habitats within Great Britain with potential implications for human and domestic animal health. Postmortem examinations were performed on 1,477 garden bird carcasses of circa 50 species from England and Wales, 1999 to 2007 inclusive. Salmonellosis was confirmed in 263 adult birds of 10 passerine species in this 11-year longitudinal study. A subset of 124 fully biotyped Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium isolates was examined using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to investigate the hypothesis that these strains are host adapted and to determine whether this molecular technique offers greater resolution in understanding the epidemiology of Salmonella Typhimurium infection than phage typing alone. For the two most common phage types, definitive type (DT) 40 and DT56v, which together accounted for 97% (120/124) of isolates, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis groupings closely correlated with phage type with remarkably few exceptions. A high degree of genetic similarity (>90%) was observed within and between the two most common pulsed-field gel electrophoresis groups. No clustering or variation was found in the pulsed-field gel electrophoresis groupings by bird species, year, or geographical region beyond that revealed by phage typing. These findings support the hypothesis that there are currently two host-adapted Salmonella phage types, S. Typhimurium DT40 and DT56v, circulating widely in British garden birds and that the reservoir of infection is maintained within wild bird populations. Large-scale multilocus sequence typing studies are required to further investigate the epidemiology of this infection.
Isolated islands provide valuable opportunities to study the persistence of viruses in wildlife populations, including population size thresholds such as the critical community size. The straw-coloured fruit bat, Eidolon helvum, has been identified as a reservoir for henipaviruses (serological evidence) and Lagos bat virus (LBV; virus isolation and serological evidence) in continental Africa. Here, we sampled from a remote population of E. helvum annobonensis fruit bats on Annobón island in the Gulf of Guinea to investigate whether antibodies to these viruses also exist in this isolated subspecies. Henipavirus serological analyses (Luminex multiplexed binding and inhibition assays, virus neutralisation tests and western blots) and lyssavirus serological analyses (LBV: modified Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralisation test, LBV and Mokola virus: lentivirus pseudovirus neutralisation assay) were undertaken on 73 and 70 samples respectively. Given the isolation of fruit bats on Annobón and their lack of connectivity with other populations, it was expected that the population size on the island would be too small to allow persistence of viruses that are thought to cause acute and immunising infections. However, the presence of antibodies against henipaviruses was detected using the Luminex binding assay and confirmed using alternative assays. Neutralising antibodies to LBV were detected in one bat using both assays. We demonstrate clear evidence for exposure of multiple individuals to henipaviruses in this remote population of E. helvum annobonensis fruit bats on Annobón island. The situation is less clear for LBV. Seroprevalences to henipaviruses and LBV in Annobón are notably different to those in E. helvum in continental locations studied using the same sampling techniques and assays. Whilst cross-sectional serological studies in wildlife populations cannot provide details on viral dynamics within populations, valuable information on the presence or absence of viruses may be obtained and utilised for informing future studies.
► Universal real-time PCR primer pair demonstrated to hybridize to and detect each of the known Lyssaviruses (including Rabies virus) with greater sensitivity than a standard pan-Lyssavirus hemi-nested RT-PCR typically used. ► Target sequences of bat derived virus species unavailable for analysis (Aravan-, Khujand-, Irkut-, West Caucasian bat- and Shimoni bat virus) were synthesized to produce oligonucleotides and the synthetic DNA was used as a target for primer hybridization.
Rabies virus (RABV) is enzootic throughout most of the world. It is now widely accepted that RABV had its origins in bats. Ten of the 11 Lyssavirus species recognised, including RABV, have been isolated from bats. There is, however, a lack of understanding regarding both the ecology and host reservoirs of Lyssaviruses. A real-time PCR assay for the detection of all Lyssaviruses using universal primers would be beneficial for Lyssavirus surveillance. It was shown that using SYBR® Green, a universal real-time PCR primer pair previously demonstrated to detect European bat Lyssaviruses 1 and 2, and RABV, was able to detect reverse transcribed RNA for each of the seven virus species available to us. Target sequences of bat derived virus species unavailable for analysis were synthesized to produce oligonucleotides. Lagos Bat-, Duvenhage- and Mokola virus full nucleoprotein gene clones enabled a limit of 5–50 plasmid copies to be detected. Five copies of each of the synthetic DNA oligonucleotides of Aravan-, Khujand-, Irkut-, West Caucasian bat- and Shimoni bat virus were detected. The single universal primer pair was therefore able to detect each of the most divergent known Lyssaviruses with great sensitivity.
Lyssavirus; Rabies; Bat; SYBR Green; Real-time PCR; Synthetic DNA
Henipaviruses, Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus (NiV), have Pteropid bats as their known natural reservoirs. Antibodies against henipaviruses have been found in Eidolon helvum, an old world fruit bat species, and henipavirus-like nucleic acid has been detected in faecal samples from E. helvum in Ghana. The initial outbreak of NiV in Malaysia led to over 265 human encephalitis cases, including 105 deaths, with infected pigs acting as amplifier hosts for NiV during the outbreak. We detected non-neutralizing antibodies against viruses of the genus Henipavirus in approximately 5% of pig sera (N = 97) tested in Ghana, but not in a small sample of other domestic species sampled under a E. helvum roost. Although we did not detect neutralizing antibody, our results suggest prior exposure of the Ghana pig population to henipavirus(es). Because a wide diversity of henipavirus-like nucleic acid sequences have been found in Ghanaian E. helvum, we hypothesise that these pigs might have been infected by henipavirus(es) sufficiently divergent enough from HeVor NiV to produce cross-reactive, but not cross-neutralizing antibodies to HeV or NiV.
Rationale: Ineffective repair of a damaged alveolar epithelium has been postulated to cause pulmonary fibrosis. In support of this theory, epithelial cell abnormalities, including hyperplasia, apoptosis, and persistent denudation of the alveolar basement membrane, are found in the lungs of humans with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and in animal models of fibrotic lung disease. Furthermore, mutations in genes that affect regenerative capacity or that cause injury/apoptosis of type II alveolar epithelial cells have been identified in familial forms of pulmonary fibrosis. Although these findings are compelling, there are no studies that demonstrate a direct role for the alveolar epithelium or, more specifically, type II cells in the scarring process.
Objectives: To determine if a targeted injury to type II cells would result in pulmonary fibrosis.
Methods: A transgenic mouse was generated to express the human diphtheria toxin receptor on type II alveolar epithelial cells. Diphtheria toxin was administered to these animals to specifically target the type II epithelium for injury. Lung fibrosis was assessed by histology and hydroxyproline measurement.
Measurements and Main Results: Transgenic mice treated with diphtheria toxin developed an approximately twofold increase in their lung hydroxyproline content on Days 21 and 28 after diphtheria toxin treatment. The fibrosis developed in conjunction with type II cell injury. Histological evaluation revealed diffuse collagen deposition with patchy areas of more confluent scarring and associated alveolar contraction.
Conclusions: The development of lung fibrosis in the setting of type II cell injury in our model provides evidence for a causal link between the epithelial defects seen in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and the corresponding areas of scarring.
diphtheria toxin; lung; collagen; scarring