Simian foamy viruses (SFV) are widespread retroviruses among non-human primates (NHP). SFV actively replicate in the oral cavity and can be transmitted to humans through NHP bites, giving rise to a persistent infection. We aimed at studying the natural history of SFV infection in human. We have analyzed viral load and gene expression in 14 hunters from Cameroon previously shown to be infected with a gorilla SFV strain. Viral DNA could be detected by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (q-PCR) targeting the pol-in region, in most samples of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) (7.1 ± 6.0 SFV DNA copies/105 PBMCs) and saliva (2.4 ± 4.3 SFV DNA copies/105 cells) derived from the hunters. However, quantitative real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT)-qPCR revealed the absence of SFV viral gene expression in both PBMCs and saliva, suggesting that SFV was latent in the human samples. Our study demonstrates that a latent infection can occur in humans and persist for years, both in PBMCs and saliva. Such a scenario may contribute to the putative lack of secondary human-to-human transmissions of SFV.
West Nile virus (WNV) is a worldwide distributed mosquito-borne flavivirus that naturally cycles between birds and mosquitoes, although it can infect multiple vertebrate hosts including horses and humans. This virus is responsible for recurrent epidemics of febrile illness and encephalitis, and has recently become a global concern. WNV requires to transit through intracellular acidic compartments at two different steps to complete its infectious cycle. These include fusion between the viral envelope and the membrane of endosomes during viral entry, and virus maturation in the trans-Golgi network. In this study, we followed a genetic approach to study the connections between viral components and acidic pH. A WNV mutant with increased resistance to the acidotropic compound NH4Cl, which blocks organelle acidification and inhibits WNV infection, was selected. Nucleotide sequencing revealed that this mutant displayed a single amino acid substitution (Lys 3 to Glu) on the highly basic internal capsid or core (C) protein. The functional role of this replacement was confirmed by its introduction into a WNV infectious clone. This single amino acid substitution also increased resistance to other acidification inhibitor (concanamycin A) and induced a reduction of the neurovirulence in mice. Interestingly, a naturally occurring accompanying mutation found on prM protein abolished the resistant phenotype, supporting the idea of a genetic crosstalk between the internal C protein and the external glycoproteins of the virion. The findings here reported unveil a non-previously assessed connection between the C viral protein and the acidic pH necessary for entry and proper exit of flaviviruses.
In differential mobility spectrometry (DMS, also referred to as high field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry, FAIMS), ions are separated on the basis of the difference in their mobility under high and low electric fields. The addition of polar modifiers to the gas transporting the ions through a DMS enhances the formation of clusters in a field-dependent way and thus amplifies the high and low field mobility difference resulting in increased peak capacity and separation power. Observations of the increase in mobility field dependence are consistent with a cluster formation model, also referred to as the dynamic cluster-decluster model. The uniqueness of chemical interactions that occur between an ion and cluster-forming neutrals increases the selectivity of the separation and the depression of low-field mobility relative to high-field mobility increases the compensation voltage and peak capacity. The effect of polar modifiers on the peak capacity across a broad range of chemicals has been investigated. We discuss the theoretical underpinnings which explain the observed effects. In contrast to the result from polar modifiers, we find that using mixtures of inert gases as the transport gas improve resolution by reducing peak width but has very little effect on peak capacity or selectivity. Inert gases do not cluster and thus do not reduce low field mobility relative to high-field mobility. The observed changes in the differential mobility α parameter exhibited by different classes of compounds when the transport gas contains polar modifiers or has a significant fraction of inert gas can be explained on the basis of the physical mechanisms involved in the separation processes.
Differential mobility spectrometry (DMS) separates ions on the basis of the difference in their migration rates under high versus low electric fields. Several models describing the physical nature of this field mobility dependence have been proposed but emerging as a dominant effect is the clusterization model sometimes referred to as the dynamic cluster-decluster model. DMS resolution and peak capacity is strongly influenced by the addition of modifiers which results in the formation and dissociation of clusters. This process increases selectivity due to the unique chemical interactions that occur between an ion and neutral gas phase molecules. It is thus imperative to bring the parameters influencing the chemical interactions under control and find ways to exploit them in order to improve the analytical utility of the device. In this paper we describe three important areas that need consideration in order to stabilize and capitalize on the chemical processes that dominate a DMS separation. The first involves means of controlling the dynamic equilibrium of the clustering reactions with high concentrations of specific reagents. The second area involves a means to deal with the unwanted heterogeneous cluster ion populations emitted from the electrospray ionization process that degrade resolution and sensitivity. The third involves fine control of parameters that affect the fundamental collision processes, temperature and pressure.
The study of rabies virus infection in bats can be challenging due to quarantine requirements, husbandry concerns, genetic differences among animals, and lack of medical history. To date, all rabies virus (RABV) studies in bats have been performed in wild caught animals. Determining the RABV exposure history of a wild caught bat based on the presence or absence of viral neutralizing antibodies (VNA) may be misleading. Previous studies have demonstrated that the presence of VNA following natural or experimental inoculation is often ephemeral. With this knowledge, it is difficult to determine if a seronegative, wild caught bat has been previously exposed to RABV. The influence of prior rabies exposure in healthy, wild caught bats is unknown. To investigate the pathogenesis of RABV infection in bats born in captivity (naïve bats), naïve bats were inoculated intramuscularly with one of two Eptesicus fuscus rabies virus variants, EfV1 or EfV2. To determine the host response to a heterologous RABV, a separate group of naïve bats were inoculated with a Lasionycteris noctivagans RABV (LnV1). Six months following the first inoculation, all bats were challenged with EfV2. Our results indicate that naïve bats may have some level of innate resistance to intramuscular RABV inoculation. Additionally, naïve bats inoculated with the LnV demonstrated the lowest clinical infection rate of all groups. However, primary inoculation with EfV1 or LnV did not appear to be protective against a challenge with the more pathogenic EfV2.
Anopheline mosquitoes are the major vectors of human malaria. Parasite-mosquito interactions are a critical aspect of disease transmission and a potential target for malaria control. Current investigations into parasite-mosquito interactions frequently assume that genetically resistant and susceptible mosquitoes exist in nature. Therefore, comparisons between the Plasmodium susceptibility profiles of different mosquito species may contribute to a better understanding of vectorial capacity. Anopheles stephensi is an important malaria vector in central and southern Asia and is widely used as a laboratory model of parasite transmission due to its high susceptibility to Plasmodium infection. In the present study, we identified a rodent malaria-refractory strain of A. stephensi mysorensis (Ehime) by comparative study of infection susceptibility. A very low number of oocysts develop in Ehime mosquitoes infected with P. berghei and P. yoelii, as determined by evaluation of developed oocysts on the basal lamina. A stage-specific study revealed that this reduced susceptibility was due to the impaired formation of ookinetes of both Plasmodium species in the midgut lumen and incomplete crossing of the midgut epithelium. There were no apparent abnormalities in the exflagellation of male parasites in the ingested blood or the maturation of oocysts after the rounding up of the ookinetes. Overall, these results suggest that invasive-stage parasites are eliminated in both the midgut lumen and epithelium in Ehime mosquitoes by strain-specific factors that remain unknown. The refractory strain newly identified in this report would be an excellent study system for investigations into novel parasite-mosquito interactions in the mosquito midgut.
Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is a key soluble effector of the innate immune system that recognizes pathogen-specific surface glycans. Surprisingly, low-producing MBL genetic variants that may predispose children and immunocompromised individuals to infectious diseases are more common than would be expected in human populations. Since certain immune defense molecules, such as immunoglobulins, can be exploited by invasive pathogens, we hypothesized that MBL might also enhance infections in some circumstances. Consequently, the low and intermediate MBL levels commonly found in human populations might be the result of balancing selection. Using model infection systems with pseudotyped and authentic glycosylated viruses, we demonstrated that MBL indeed enhances infection of Ebola, Hendra, Nipah and West Nile viruses in low complement conditions. Mechanistic studies with Ebola virus (EBOV) glycoprotein pseudotyped lentiviruses confirmed that MBL binds to N-linked glycan epitopes on viral surfaces in a specific manner via the MBL carbohydrate recognition domain, which is necessary for enhanced infection. MBL mediates lipid-raft-dependent macropinocytosis of EBOV via a pathway that appears to require less actin or early endosomal processing compared with the filovirus canonical endocytic pathway. Using a validated RNA interference screen, we identified C1QBP (gC1qR) as a candidate surface receptor that mediates MBL-dependent enhancement of EBOV infection. We also identified dectin-2 (CLEC6A) as a potentially novel candidate attachment factor for EBOV. Our findings support the concept of an innate immune haplotype that represents critical interactions between MBL and complement component C4 genes and that may modify susceptibility or resistance to certain glycosylated pathogens. Therefore, higher levels of native or exogenous MBL could be deleterious in the setting of relative hypocomplementemia which can occur genetically or because of immunodepletion during active infections. Our findings confirm our hypothesis that the pressure of infectious diseases may have contributed in part to evolutionary selection of MBL mutant haplotypes.
As part of a virus discovery investigation using a metagenomic approach, a highly divergent novel Human papillomavirus type was identified in pooled convenience nasal/oropharyngeal swab samples collected from patients with febrile respiratory illness. Phylogenetic analysis of the whole genome and the L1 gene reveals that the new HPV identified in this study clusters with previously described gamma papillomaviruses, sharing only 61.1% (whole genome) and 63.1% (L1) sequence identity with its closest relative in the Papillomavirus episteme (PAVE) database. This new virus was named HPV_SD2 pending official classification. The complete genome of HPV-SD2 is 7,299 bp long (36.3% G/C) and contains 7 open reading frames (L2, L1, E6, E7, E1, E2 and E4) and a non-coding long control region (LCR) between L1 and E6. The metagenomic procedures, coupled with the bioinformatic methods described herein are well suited to detect small circular genomes such as those of human papillomaviruses.
Hosts species for multi-host pathogens show considerable variation in the species' reservoir competence, which is usually used to measure species' potential to maintain and transmit these pathogens. Although accumulating research has proposed a trade-off between life-history strategies and immune defences, only a few studies extended this to host species' reservoir competence. Using a phylogenetic comparative approach, we studied the relationships between some species' life-history traits and reservoir competence in three emerging infectious vector-borne disease systems, namely Lyme disease, West Nile Encephalitis (WNE) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). The results showed that interspecific variation in reservoir competence could be partly explained by the species' life histories. Species with larger body mass (for hosts of Lyme disease and WNE) or smaller clutch size (for hosts of EEE) had a higher reservoir competence. Given that both larger body mass and smaller clutch size were linked to higher extinction risk of local populations, our study suggests that with decreasing biodiversity, species with a higher reservoir competence are more likely to remain in the community, and thereby increase the risk of transmitting these pathogens, which might be a possible mechanism underlying the dilution effect.
Anopheles gambiae is a major vector of malaria and lymphatic filariasis. The arthropod-host interactions occurring at the skin interface are complex and dynamic. We used a global approach to describe the interaction between the mosquito (infected or uninfected) and the skin of mammals during blood feeding.
Intravital video microscopy was used to characterize several features during blood feeding. The deposition and movement of Plasmodium berghei sporozoites in the dermis were also observed. We also used histological techniques to analyze the impact of infected and uninfected feedings on the skin cell response in naive mice.
The mouthparts were highly mobile within the skin during the probing phase. Probing time increased with mosquito age, with possible effects on pathogen transmission. Repletion was achieved by capillary feeding. The presence of sporozoites in the salivary glands modified the behavior of the mosquitoes, with infected females tending to probe more than uninfected females (86% versus 44%). A white area around the tip of the proboscis was observed when the mosquitoes fed on blood from the vessels of mice immunized with saliva. Mosquito feedings elicited an acute inflammatory response in naive mice that peaked three hours after the bite. Polynuclear and mast cells were associated with saliva deposits. We describe the first visualization of saliva in the skin by immunohistochemistry (IHC) with antibodies directed against saliva. Both saliva deposits and sporozoites were detected in the skin for up to 18 h after the bite.
This study, in which we visualized the probing and engorgement phases of Anopheles gambiae blood meals, provides precise information about the behavior of the insect as a function of its infection status and the presence or absence of anti-saliva antibodies. It also provides insight into the possible consequences of the inflammatory reaction for blood feeding and pathogen transmission.
An immunomodulatory role of arthropod saliva has been well documented, but evidence for an effect on Plasmodium sp. infectiousness remains controversial. Mosquito saliva may orient the immune response toward a Th2 profile, thereby priming a Th2 response against subsequent antigens, including Plasmodium. Orientation toward a Th1 versus a Th2 profile promotes IgG and IgE proliferation, respectively, where the former is crucial for the development of an efficient antiparasite immune response. Here we assessed the direct effect of mosquito bites on the density of Plasmodium falciparum asexual parasites and the prevalence of gametocytes in chronic, asymptomatic infections in a longitudinal cohort study of seasonal transmission. We additionally correlated these parasitological measures with IgE and IgG antiparasite and anti-salivary gland extract titers. The mosquito biting density was positively correlated with the asexual parasite density but not asexual parasite prevalence and was negatively correlated with gametocyte prevalence. Individual anti-salivary gland IgE titers were also negatively correlated with gametocyte carriage and were strongly positively correlated with antiparasite IgE titers, consistent with the hypothesis that mosquito bites predispose individuals to develop an IgE antiparasite response. We provide evidence that mosquito bites have an impact on asymptomatic infections and differentially so for the production of asexual and sexual parasites. An increased research focus on the immunological impact of mosquito bites during asymptomatic infections is warranted, to establish whether strategies targeting the immune response to saliva can reduce the duration of infection and the onward transmission of the parasite.
Viruses related to human hepatitis C virus infect horses in the United Kingdom without evidence of hepatic or other systemic disease.
Although the origin of hepatitis C virus infections in humans remains undetermined, a close homolog of this virus, termed canine hepacivirus (CHV) and found in respiratory secretions of dogs, provides evidence for a wider distribution of hepaciviruses in mammals. We determined frequencies of active infection among dogs and other mammals in the United Kingdom. Samples from dogs (46 respiratory, 99 plasma, 45 autopsy samples) were CHV negative by PCR. Screening of 362 samples from cats, horses, donkeys, rodents, and pigs identified 3 (2%) positive samples from 142 horses. These samples were genetically divergent from CHV and nonprimate hepaciviruses that horses were infected with during 2012 in New York state, USA. Investigation of infected horses demonstrated nonprimate hepacivirus persistence, high viral loads in plasma (105–107 RNA copies/mL), and liver function test results usually within reference ranges, although several values ranged from high normal to mildly elevated. Disease associations and host range of nonprimate hepaciviruses warrant further investigation.
hepatitis C virus; viruses; Equus ferus caballus; Canis familiaris; canine; hepacivirus; CHV; zoonosis; evolution; primate; viral hepatitis; horse; dog; United Kingdom; non-primate; nonprimate; hepacivirus; NPHV; gb virus b; gbv-b
To identify polymorphic sites that could be used as biomarkers of Ebola virus passage history, we repeatedly amplified Ebola virus (Kikwit variant) in vitro and in vivo and performed deep sequencing analysis of the complete genomes of the viral subpopulations. We then determined the sites undergoing selection during passage in Vero E6 cells. Four locations within the Ebola virus Kikwit genome were identified that together segregate cell culture-passaged virus and virus obtained from infected non-human primates. Three of the identified sites are located within the glycoprotein gene (GP) sequence: the poly-U (RNA editing) site at position 6925, as well as positions 6677, and 6179. One site was found in the VP24 gene at position 10833. In all cases, in vitro and in vivo, both populations (majority and minority variants) were maintained in the viral swarm, with rapid selections occurring after a few passages or infections. This analysis approach will be useful to differentiate whether filovirus stocks with unknown history have been passaged in cell culture and may support filovirus stock standardization for medical countermeasure development.
Analysis of the tsetse fly salivary gland EST database revealed the presence of a highly enriched cluster of putative endonuclease genes, including tsal1 and tsal2. Tsal proteins are the major components of tsetse fly (G. morsitans morsitans) saliva where they are present as monomers as well as high molecular weight complexes with other saliva proteins. We demonstrate that the recombinant tsetse salivary gland proteins 1&2 (Tsal1&2) display DNA/RNA non-specific, high affinity nucleic acid binding with KD values in the low nanomolar range and a non-exclusive preference for duplex. These Tsal proteins exert only a residual nuclease activity with a preference for dsDNA in a broad pH range. Knockdown of Tsal expression by in vivo RNA interference in the tsetse fly revealed a partially impaired blood digestion phenotype as evidenced by higher gut nucleic acid, hematin and protein contents.
Ixodes species ticks are competent vectors of tick-borne viruses including tick-borne encephalitis and Powassan encephalitis. Tick saliva has been shown to facilitate and enhance viral infection. This likely occurs by saliva-mediated modulation of host responses into patterns favorable for viral infection and dissemination. Because of the rapid kinetics of tick-borne viral transmission, this modulation must occur as early as tick attachment and initiation of feeding. In this study, cutaneous bite-site lesions were analyzed using Affymetrix mouse genome 430A 2.0 arrays and histopathology at 1, 3, 6, and 12 hours after uninfected Ixodes scapularis nymphal tick attachment. At 1 and 3 hrs after attachment, the gene expression profile is markedly different than at later time points. Upregulated gene ontology term clusters enriched at 1 and 3 hrs were related to post-translational modification. At 6 and 12 hrs, cytoskeletal rearrangements, DNA replication/cell division, inflammation, and chemotaxis were prominent clusters. At 6 and 12 hrs, extracellular matrix, signaling, and DNA binding clusters were downregulated. Histopathological analysis shows minimal inflammation at 1 and 3 hrs but an appreciable neutrophil infiltrate at 6 and 12 hrs. In addition, putative hyperemia, localized necrosis, and increased ECM deposition were identified. Putting the gene expression and histopathology analysis together suggests early tick feeding is characterized by modulation of host responses in resident cells that merges into a nascent, neutrophil-driven immune response by 12 hrs post-attachment.
Deep sequencing was used to discover a novel rhabdovirus (Bas-Congo virus, or BASV) associated with a 2009 outbreak of 3 human cases of acute hemorrhagic fever in Mangala village, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Africa. The cases, presenting over a 3-week period, were characterized by abrupt disease onset, high fever, mucosal hemorrhage, and, in two patients, death within 3 days. BASV was detected in an acute serum sample from the lone survivor at a concentration of 1.09×106 RNA copies/mL, and 98.2% of the genome was subsequently de novo assembled from ∼140 million sequence reads. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that BASV is highly divergent and shares less than 34% amino acid identity with any other rhabdovirus. High convalescent neutralizing antibody titers of >1∶1000 were detected in the survivor and an asymptomatic nurse directly caring for him, both of whom were health care workers, suggesting the potential for human-to-human transmission of BASV. The natural animal reservoir host or arthropod vector and precise mode of transmission for the virus remain unclear. BASV is an emerging human pathogen associated with acute hemorrhagic fever in Africa.
We used deep sequencing, a method for generating millions of DNA sequence reads from clinical samples, to discover a novel rhabdovirus (Bas-Congo virus, or BASV) associated with a 2009 outbreak of 3 human cases of acute hemorrhagic fever in Mangala village, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Africa. The cases, presenting over a 3-week period, were characterized by abrupt disease onset, high fever, bloody vomiting and diarrhea, and, in two patients, death within 3 days. BASV was present in the blood of the lone survivor at a concentration of over a million copies per milliliter. The genome of BASV, assembled from over 140 million sequence reads, reveals that it is very different from any other rhabdovirus. The lone survivor and a nurse caring for him (with no symptoms), both health care workers, were found to have high levels of antibodies to BASV, indicating that they both had been infected by the virus. Although the source of the virus remains unclear, our study findings suggest that BASV may be spread by human-to-human contact and is an emerging pathogen associated with acute hemorrhagic fever in Africa.
Saliva of hematophagous arthropods contains a diverse mixture of compounds that counteracts host hemostasis. Immunomodulatory and antiinflammatory components are also found in these organisms' saliva. Blood feeding evolved at least ten times within arthropods, providing a scenario of convergent evolution for the solution of the salivary potion. Perhaps because of immune pressure from hosts, the salivary proteins of related organisms have considerable divergence, and new protein families are often found within different genera of the same family or even among subgenera. Fleas radiated with their vertebrate hosts, including within the mammal expansion initiated 65 million years ago. Currently, only one flea species–the rat flea Xenopsylla cheopis–has been investigated by means of salivary transcriptome analysis to reveal salivary constituents, or sialome. We present the analysis of the sialome of cat flea Ctenocephaides felis.
Methodology and Critical Findings
A salivary gland cDNA library from adult fleas was randomly sequenced, assembled, and annotated. Sialomes of cat and rat fleas have in common the enzyme families of phosphatases (inactive), CD-39-type apyrase, adenosine deaminases, and esterases. Antigen-5 members are also common to both sialomes, as are defensins. FS-I/Cys7 and the 8-Cys families of peptides are also shared by both fleas and are unique to these organisms. The Gly-His-rich peptide similar to holotricin was found only in the cat flea, as were the abundantly expressed Cys-less peptide and a novel short peptide family.
Fleas, in contrast to bloodsucking Nematocera (mosquitoes, sand flies, and black flies), appear to concentrate a good portion of their sialome in small polypeptides, none of which have a known function but could act as inhibitors of hemostasis or inflammation. They are also unique in expansion of a phosphatase family that appears to be deficient of enzyme activity and has an unknown function.
Henipavirus; Paramyxoviridae; Africa; Chiroptera; Eidolon helvum; viruses; fruit bats
Volepox virus (VPXV) was first isolated in 1985 from a hind foot scab of an otherwise healthy California vole (Microtus californicus). Subsequent surveys in San Mateo County, CA, revealed serological evidence suggesting that VPXV is endemic to this area, and a second viral isolate from a Pinyon mouse (Peromyscus truei) was collected in 1988. Since then, few studies have been conducted regarding the ecology, pathology, and pathogenicity of VPXV, and its prevalence and role as a potential zoonotic agent remain unknown. To increase our understanding of VPXV disease progression, we challenged 24 California mice (Peromyscus californicus) intranasally with 1.6×103 PFU of purified VPXV. By day five post infection (pi) we observed decreased activity level, conjunctivitis, ruffled hair, skin lesions, facial edema, and crusty noses. A mortality rate of 54% was noted by day eight pi. In addition, internal organ necrosis and hemorrhages were observed during necropsy of deceased or euthanized animals. Viral loads in tissues (brain, gonad, kidney, liver, lung, spleen, submandibular lymph node, and adrenal gland), bodily secretions (saliva, and tears), and excretions (urine, and/or feces) were evaluated and compared using real time-PCR and tissue culture. Viral loads measured as high as 2×109 PFU/mL in some organs. Our results suggest that VPXV can cause extreme morbidity and mortality within rodent populations sympatric with the known VPXV reservoirs.
Mosquito feeding behaviour determines the degree of vector–host contact and may have a serious impact on the risk of West Nile virus (WNV) epidemics. Feeding behaviour also interacts with other biotic and abiotic factors that affect virus amplification and transmission.
We identified the origin of blood meals in five mosquito species from three different wetlands in SW Spain. All mosquito species analysed fed with different frequencies on birds, mammals and reptiles. Both ‘mosquito species’ and ‘locality’ explained a similar amount of variance in the occurrence of avian blood meals. However, ‘season of year’ was the main factor explaining the presence of human blood meals. The differences in diet resulted in a marked spatial heterogeneity in the estimated WNV transmission risk. Culex perexiguus, Cx. modestus and Cx. pipiens were the main mosquito species involved in WNV enzootic circulation since they feed mainly on birds, were abundant in a number of localities and had high vector competence. Cx. perexiguus may also be important for WNV transmission to horses, as are Cx. pipiens and Cx. theileri in transmission to humans. Estimates of the WNV transmission risk based on mosquito diet, abundance and vector competence matched the results of previous WNV monitoring programs in the area. Our sensitivity analyses suggested that mosquito diet, followed by mosquito abundance and vector competence, are all relevant factors in understanding virus amplification and transmission risk in the studied wild ecosystems. At some of the studied localities, the risk of enzootic circulation of WNV was relatively high, even if the risk of transmission to humans and horses was less.
Our results describe for first time the role of five WNV candidate vectors in SW Spain. Interspecific and local differences in mosquito diet composition has an important effect on the potential transmission risk of WNV to birds, horses and humans.
Rabensburg virus (RABV), a Flavivirus with ∼76% nucleotide and 90% amino acid identity with representative members of lineage one and two West Nile virus (WNV), previously was isolated from Culex pipiens and Aedes rossicus mosquitoes in the Czech Republic, and phylogenetic and serologic analyses demonstrated that it was likely a new lineage of WNV. However, no direct link between RABV and human disease has been definitively established and the extent to which RABV utilizes the typical WNV transmission cycle is unknown. Herein, we evaluated vector competence and capacity for vertical transmission (VT) in Cx. pipiens; in vitro growth on avian, mammalian, and mosquito cells; and infectivity and viremia production in birds. RABV infection and replication only were detected on mosquito cells. Experimentally inoculated birds did not become infected. Cx. pipiens had poor peroral vector competence and a higher VT rate as compared to US-WNV in Cx. pipiens. As a result, we postulate that RABV is an intermediate between the mosquito-specific and horizontally transmitted flaviviruses.
During 2010–2011, we investigated interspecies transmission of partetraviruses between predators (humans and chimpanzees) and their prey (colobus monkeys) in Côte d’Ivoire. Despite widespread infection in all species investigated, no interspecies transmission could be detected by PCR and genome analysis. All sequences identified formed species- or subspecies (chimpanzee)-specific clusters, which supports a co-evolution hypothesis.
chimpanzees; Côte d’Ivoire; colobus monkeys; partetetravirus; parvovirus 4; PARV4; PARV4-like; viruses; zoonoses; humans
Plague is a flea-borne rodent-associated zoonotic disease that is caused by Yersinia pestis and characterized by long quiescent periods punctuated by rapidly spreading epidemics and epizootics. How plague bacteria persist during inter-epizootic periods is poorly understood, yet is important for predicting when and where epizootics are likely to occur and for designing interventions aimed at local elimination of the pathogen. Existing hypotheses of how Y. pestis is maintained within plague foci typically center on host abundance or diversity, but little attention has been paid to the importance of flea diversity in enzootic maintenance. Our study compares host and flea abundance and diversity along an elevation gradient that spans from low elevation sites outside of a plague focus in the West Nile region of Uganda (∼725–1160 m) to higher elevation sites within the focus (∼1380–1630 m). Based on a year of sampling, we showed that host abundance and diversity, as well as total flea abundance on hosts was similar between sites inside compared with outside the plague focus. By contrast, flea diversity was significantly higher inside the focus than outside. Our study highlights the importance of considering flea diversity in models of Y. pestis persistence.
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.
The genus Henipavirus includes Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus (NiV), for which fruit bats (particularly those of the genus Pteropus) are considered to be the wildlife reservoir. The recognition of henipaviruses occurring across a wider geographic and host range suggests the possibility of the virus entering the United Kingdom (UK). To estimate the likelihood of henipaviruses entering the UK, a qualitative release assessment was undertaken. To facilitate the release assessment, the world was divided into four zones according to location of outbreaks of henipaviruses, isolation of henipaviruses, proximity to other countries where incidents of henipaviruses have occurred and the distribution of Pteropus spp. fruit bats. From this release assessment, the key findings are that the importation of fruit from Zone 1 and 2 and bat bushmeat from Zone 1 each have a Low annual probability of release of henipaviruses into the UK. Similarly, the importation of bat meat from Zone 2, horses and companion animals from Zone 1 and people travelling from Zone 1 and entering the UK was estimated to pose a Very Low probability of release. The annual probability of release for all other release routes was assessed to be Negligible. It is recommended that the release assessment be periodically re-assessed to reflect changes in knowledge and circumstances over time.