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1.  Demographic Model of the Swiss Cattle Population for the Years 2009-2011 Stratified by Gender, Age and Production Type 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109329.
Demographic composition and dynamics of animal and human populations are important determinants for the transmission dynamics of infectious disease and for the effect of infectious disease or environmental disasters on productivity. In many circumstances, demographic data are not available or of poor quality. Since 1999 Switzerland has been recording cattle movements, births, deaths and slaughter in an animal movement database (AMD). The data present in the AMD offers the opportunity for analysing and understanding the dynamic of the Swiss cattle population. A dynamic population model can serve as a building block for future disease transmission models and help policy makers in developing strategies regarding animal health, animal welfare, livestock management and productivity. The Swiss cattle population was therefore modelled using a system of ordinary differential equations. The model was stratified by production type (dairy or beef), age and gender (male and female calves: 0–1 year, heifers and young bulls: 1–2 years, cows and bulls: older than 2 years). The simulation of the Swiss cattle population reflects the observed pattern accurately. Parameters were optimized on the basis of the goodness-of-fit (using the Powell algorithm). The fitted rates were compared with calculated rates from the AMD and differed only marginally. This gives confidence in the fitted rates of parameters that are not directly deductible from the AMD (e.g. the proportion of calves that are moved from the dairy system to fattening plants).
PMCID: PMC4195665  PMID: 25310680
2.  Diarrhoeal diseases among adult population in an agricultural community Hanam province, Vietnam, with high wastewater and excreta re-use 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):978.
Despite the potential health risks of wastewater and excreta use as fertiliser in agriculture, it is still widespread in Vietnam. However, the importance of diarrheal risk in adults’ associated with the combined exposures to both excreta and wastewater use in agriculture is largely unknown. This study was carried out to determine diarrhoeal incidence and associated risk factors among the adult population exposed to wastewater and excreta used in agriculture in Hanam province, Vietnam.
An open cohort of 867 adults, aged 16–65 years, was followed weekly for 12 months to determine the incidence of diarrhoea. A nested case–control study was used to assess the risk factors of diarrhoeal episodes. Two hundred and thirty-two pairs of cases and controls were identified and exposure information related to wastewater, human and animal excreta, personal hygiene practices, and food and water consumption was collected.
The incidence rate of reported diarrhoea was 0.28 episodes per person-years at risk. The risk factors for diarrhoeal diseases included direct contact with the Nhue River water (odds ratio [OR] = 2.4, attributable fraction [AF] 27%), local pond water (OR = 2.3, AF 14%), composting of human excreta for a duration less than 3 months (OR = 2.4, AF 51%), handling human excreta in field work (OR = 5.4, AF 7%), handling animal excreta in field work (OR = 3.3, AF 36%), lack of protective measures while working (OR = 6.9, AF 78%), never or rarely washing hands with soap (OR = 3.3, AF 51%), use of rainwater for drinking (OR = 5.4, AF 77%) and eating raw vegetables the day before (OR = 2.4, AF 12%).
Our study shows that professional exposure to wastewater and excreta during agricultural activities are significantly contributing to the risk of diarrhoea in adults. The highest attributable fractions were obtained for direct contact with Nhue River and local ponds, handling practices of human and animal excreta as fertilisers, lack of protective measures while working and poor personal hygiene practices, and unsafe food and water consumption were associated with the risk of diarrhoeal episodes in adults. Improve personal hygiene practices and use of relevant treated wastewater and excreta as the public health measures to reduce these exposures will be most effective and are urgently warranted.
PMCID: PMC4180152  PMID: 25239151
Diarrhoeal disease; Wastewater; Excreta; Agriculture; Vietnam
3.  Representative Seroprevalences of Human and Livestock Brucellosis in Two Mongolian Provinces 
Ecohealth  2014;11(3):356-371.
Mongolia implemented a brucellosis livestock mass vaccination campaign from 2000 to 2009. However, the number of human cases did not decline since 2004 and the current epidemiological situation in Mongolia was uncertain. The objective of this study was to estimate the representative seroprevalences of humans and livestock in two provinces in view of their comparison with officially reported data. A representative cross-sectional study using cluster sampling proportional to size in humans, sheep, goats, cattle, yaks, horses, camels and dogs was undertaken to assess the apparent seroprevalence in humans and animals. A total of 8054 livestock and dog sera and 574 human sera were collected in Sukhbaatar and Zavkhan provinces. Human and animal sera were tested with the Rose Bengal and ELISA tests. The overall apparent seroprevalence of brucellosis was 27.3% in humans (95% CI 23.7–31.2%), 6.2% (95% CI 5.5–7.1%) in sheep, 5.2% (95% CI 4.4–5.9%) in goats, 16.0% (95% CI 13.7–18.7%) in cattle, 2.5% (95% CI 0.8–7.6%) in camels, 8.3 (95% CI 6.0–11.6%) in horses and 36.4% (95% CI 26.3–48.0%) in dogs. More women than men were seropositive (OR = 1.7; P < 0.0014). Human seroprevalence was not associated with small ruminant and cattle seroprevalence at the nomadic camp (hot ail) level. Annual incidence of clinical brucellosis, inferred from the seroprevalence using a catalytic model, was by a factor of 4.6 (1307/280) in Sukhbaatar and by a factor of 59 (1188/20) in Zavkhan. This represents a 15-fold underreporting of human brucellosis in Mongolia. The lack of access to brucellosis diagnostic testing at the village level hinders rural people from receiving appropriate treatment. In conclusion, this study confirms the high seroprevalence of human and livestock brucellosis in Mongolia. Stringent monitoring and quality control of operational management of a nationwide mass vaccination of small and large ruminants is warranted to assure its effectiveness. More research is needed to understand the complex animal–human interface of brucellosis transmission at different scales from farm to provincial level.
PMCID: PMC4111879  PMID: 25012215
apparent seroprevalence; incidence; brucellosis; Mongolia; human; livestock
4.  Prevalence of Fasciola gigantica infection in slaughtered animals in south-eastern Lake Chad area in relation to husbandry practices and seasonal water levels 
Fasciolosis has been described in sub-Saharan Africa in many accounts, but the latest reports from Chad are from the 1970s. Mobile pastoralists perceive liver parasites as a significant problem and think that proximity to Lake Chad can lead to infection. This study aimed to assess the importance of liver fluke infections in mobile pastoralists’ livestock in the south-eastern Lake Chad region.
In 2011, all animals presented at three slaughter slabs near Gredaya in the south-eastern Lake Chad area were examined for infection with Fasciola spp. during routine meat inspections.
This study included 616 goats, 132 sheep and 130 cattle. The prevalence of adult Fasciola gigantica was 68% (CI 60-76%) in cattle, 12% (CI 10-16%) in goats and 23% (CI 16-30%) in sheep. From all infected animals (n = 200), 53% (n = 106) were classified as lightly infected with 1-10 parasites, 18% (n =36) as moderately infected with 11-100 parasites and 29% (n = 58) as heavily infected with more than 100 parasites per animal.
Animals grazing close to the shores of Lake Chad had a much higher risk of infection (prevalence =38%; n = 329) than animals not feeding at the lake (n = 353), with only one goat being positive (prevalence = 0.28%).
The ethnic group of the owner was a strong determinant for the risk of infection. Ethnic group likely served as a proxy for husbandry practices. Geospatial distribution showed that animals originating from areas close to the lake were more likely to be infected with F. gigantica than those from more distant areas.
Livestock belonging to ethnic groups which traditionally stay near surface water, and which were reported to feed near Lake Chad, have a high risk of infection with F. gigantica. Pastoralist perception of fasciolosis as a priority health problem was confirmed.
Regular preventive and post-exposure treatment is recommended for animals grazing near the lake. However, further economic analysis is needed.
PMCID: PMC4022263  PMID: 24708774
Fasciolosis; Lake Chad; Mobile pastoralists; Slaughter slabs
5.  Prevalence of Bovine Tuberculosis and Risk Factor Assessment in Cattle in Rural Livestock Areas of Govuro District in the Southeast of Mozambique 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91527.
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB), caused by Mycobacterium bovis, is an infectious disease of cattle that also affects other domestic animals, free-ranging and farmed wildlife, and also humans. In Mozambique, scattered surveys have reported a wide variation of bTB prevalence rates in cattle from different regions. Due to direct economic repercussions on livestock and indirect consequences for human health and wildlife, knowing the prevalence rates of the disease is essential to define an effective control strategy.
Methodology/Principal findings
A cross-sectional study was conducted in Govuro district to determine bTB prevalence in cattle and identify associated risk factors. A representative sample of the cattle population was defined, stratified by livestock areas (n = 14). A total of 1136 cattle from 289 farmers were tested using the single comparative intradermal tuberculin test. The overall apparent prevalence was estimated at 39.6% (95% CI 36.8–42.5) using a diagnostic threshold cut-off according to the World Organization for Animal Health. bTB reactors were found in 13 livestock areas, with prevalence rates ranging from 8.1 to 65.8%. Age was the main risk factor; animals older than 4 years were more likely to be positive reactors (OR = 3.2, 95% CI: 2.2–4.7). Landim local breed showed a lower prevalence than crossbred animals (Landim × Brahman) (OR = 0.6, 95% CI: 0.4–0.8).
The findings reveal an urgent need for intervention with effective, area-based, control measures in order to reduce bTB prevalence and prevent its spread to the human population. In addition to the high prevalence, population habits in Govuro, particularly the consumption of raw milk, clearly may potentiate the transmission to humans. Thus, further studies on human tuberculosis and the molecular characterization of the predominant strain lineages that cause bTB in cattle and humans are urgently required to evaluate the impact on human health in the region.
PMCID: PMC3954769  PMID: 24632593
6.  The use of mobile phones for demographic surveillance of mobile pastoralists and their animals in Chad: proof of principle 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.23209.
Demographic information is foundational for the planning and management of social programmes, in particular health services. The existing INDEPTH network surveillance sites are limited to coverage of sedentary populations. Including mobile populations in this approach would be expensive, time consuming and possibly low in accuracy. Very little is known about the demography of mobile pastoralists and their animals, so innovative approaches are urgently needed.
To test and evaluate a mobile demographic surveillance system for mobile pastoralist households, including livestock herds, using mobile phones.
Mobile pastoralist camps were monitored (10 for 12 months and 10 for 18 months) using biweekly mobile phone calls with camp leaders and their wives to conduct interviews about the households and livestock. The collected information was validated through personal visits, GPS data and a livestock demographic model.
The study showed the feasibility of mobile phone surveillance for mobile pastoralist camps, providing usable, valid information on human and livestock population structures, pregnancy outcomes and herd dynamics, as well as migration patterns. The approach was low-cost and applicable with the existing local resources.
Demographic surveillance in mobile populations is feasible using mobile phones. Expansion of the small-scale system into a full mobile demographic surveillance system is warranted and would likely lead to improved planning and provision of human and animal health care.
PMCID: PMC3915884  PMID: 24499744
mobile phones; mobile pastoralists; demographic surveillance; herd surveillance; one health
7.  Seroprevalence of Brucellosis and Q-Fever in Southeast Ethiopian Pastoral Livestock 
Journal of veterinary science & medical diagnosis  2013;2(1):10.4172/2325-9590.1000109.
To assess seroprevalences of Brucella and C. burnetii in pastoral livestock in southeast Ethiopia, a cross-sectional study was carried out in three livestock species (cattle, camels and goats). The study was conducted from July 2008 to August 2010, and eight pastoral associations (PAs) from the selected districts were included in the study. Sera from a total of 1830 animals, comprising 862 cattle, 458 camels and 510 goats were screened initially with Rose Bengal plate test (RBPT) for Brucella. All RBPT positive and 25% of randomly selected negative sera were further tested by ELISA. These comprise a total of 460 animals (211 cattle, 102 camels and 147 goats). Out of sera from total of 1830 animals, 20% were randomly selected (180 cattle, 90 camels and 98 goats) and tested for C. burnetii using ELISA. The seroprevalences of Brucella was 1.4% (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.8-2.6), 0.9% (95% CI, 0.3-2.7)b and 9.6% (95% CI, 5.2-17.1) in cattle, camels and goats, respectively. Goats and older animals were at higher risk of infection (OR=7.3, 95% CI, 2.8-19.1) and (OR=1.7 95% CI, 0.9-2.9), respectively. Out of 98 RBPT negative camel sera, 12.0% were positive for ELISA. The seroprevalences of C. burnetii were 31.6% (95% CI, 24.7-39.5), 90.0% (95% CI, 81.8-94.7) and 54.2% (95% CI, 46.1-62.1) in cattle, camels and goats, respectively. We found positive animals for C. burnetii test in all tested PAs for all animal species. Being camel and older animal was a risk factor for infection (OR=19.0, 95% CI, 8.9-41.2) and (OR=3.6, 95% CI, 2.0-6.6), respectively. High seropositivity of C. burnetii in all livestock species tested and higher seropositive in goats for Brucella, implies risks of human infection by both diseases. Thus, merit necessity of further study of both diseases in animals and humans in the area.
PMCID: PMC3859921  PMID: 24350302
Brucellosis; Q-fever; Seroprevalence; Pastoral livestock; Southeast Ethiopia
8.  Prevalence and risk factors for carriage of multi-drug resistant Staphylococci in healthy cats and dogs 
Journal of Veterinary Science  2013;14(4):449-456.
We investigated the distribution of commensal staphylococcal species and determined the prevalence of multi-drug resistance in healthy cats and dogs. Risk factors associated with the carriage of multi-drug resistant strains were explored. Isolates from 256 dogs and 277 cats were identified at the species level using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation-time of flight mass spectrometry. The diversity of coagulase-negative Staphylococci (CNS) was high, with 22 species in dogs and 24 in cats. Multi-drug resistance was frequent (17%) and not always associated with the presence of the mecA gene. A stay in a veterinary clinic in the last year was associated with an increased risk of colonisation by multi-drug resistant Staphylococci (OR = 2.4, 95% CI: 1.1~5.2, p value LRT = 0.04). When identifying efficient control strategies against antibiotic resistance, the presence of mechanisms other than methicillin resistance and the possible role of CNS in the spread of resistance determinants should be considered.
PMCID: PMC3885739  PMID: 23820161
antibiotics; coagulase-negative; matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation-time of flight; staphylococci
9.  Towards a science of rabies elimination 
Wenwu Yin and co-workers conducted a systematic review on challenges and needs to eliminate rabies in China (Yin et al., 2013 in this journal). Their analysis shows that there is considerable overrepresentation of laboratory and basic epidemiology research. On the other hand, information on effective control activities and policies are nearly absent. Currently we know enough to control and eliminate dog rabies effectively. Continuing basic research while not engaging in the control of rabies appears almost cynical. Why is it not attractive to do research on effective control and elimination? Let us move now from the biological understanding to the science of rabies elimination.
PMCID: PMC3854129  PMID: 24088333
Rabies; Dog; China; Control; Elimination
10.  Differences in Primary Sites of Infection between Zoonotic and Human Tuberculosis: Results from a Worldwide Systematic Review 
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most devastating infectious diseases worldwide. Whilst global burden estimates for M. tuberculosis infection (MtTB) are well established, accurate data on the contribution of zoonotic TB (zTB) caused by M. bovis or M. caprae to human TB are scarce. The association of M. bovis infection with extrapulmonary tuberculosis has been suggested repeatedly, though there is little scientific evidence available to support this relationship. The present study aimed to determine globally the occurrence of extrapulmonary TB and the primary site (i.e. primary body location affected) of zTB in comparison with MtTB, based on previously published reports. A systematic literature review was conducted in 32 different bibliographic databases, selecting reports on zTB written in English, French, German, Spanish or Portuguese. Data from 27 reports from Africa, America, Europe and the Western Pacific Region were extracted for analyses. Low income countries, in Africa and South-East Asia, were highly underrepresented in the dataset. The median proportion of extrapulmonary TB cases was significantly increased among zTB in comparison with data from registries of Europe and USA, reporting mainly MtTB cases (47% versus 22% in Europe, 73% versus 30% in the USA). These findings were confirmed by analyses of eight studies reporting on the proportions of extrapulmonary TB in comparable populations of zTB and MtTB cases (median 63% versus 22%). Also, disparities of primary sites of extrapulmonary TB between zTB and MtTB were detected. Our findings, based on global data, confirm the widely suggested association between zTB and extrapulmonary disease. Different disability weights for zTB and MtTB should be considered and we recommend separate burden estimates for the two diseases.
Author Summary
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most devastating infectious diseases worldwide. The impact estimation of worldwide human TB is well established; however, that of TB transmitted by cattle, goat or sheep (i.e. zoonotic TB) is not. The affected body sites of human and zoonotic TB are repeatedly suggested to be different, which would influence the severity and impact of the diseases. The present study aimed to determine globally the association of affected body site and zoonotic TB by a systematic literature review. Data from 27 reports from Africa, America, Europe and the Western Pacific Region were included in the analyses. We found that the proportion of extrapulmonary TB was significantly higher in zoonotic TB than in human TB. Also, disparities of the specific body sites of extrapulmonary TB between zoonotic TB and human TB were detected. Our findings, which are based on global data, confirm the widely suggested association between zoonotic TB and extrapulmonary disease. Therefore, different measurements for estimating the impact of the two diseases should be considered.
PMCID: PMC3757065  PMID: 24009789
11.  Bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis prevalence in cattle from selected milk cooperatives in Arsi zone, Oromia region, Ethiopia 
Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) and bovine brucellosis are two important milk-borne zoonoses that have been shown to be prevalent to various degrees in Ethiopian cattle.
The study was carried out in four Woredas (districts) around Asella town, Arsi Zone between October 2011 and March 2012 and included 318 small-holders in 13 dairy cooperatives that marketed the delivered milk. The aims of the study were i) to assess the prevalence of the two diseases in cattle in a cross-sectional study, ii) to assess potential risk factors of BTB and brucellosis to humans as well as the knowledge-attitude-practice (KAP) among these farmers towards these diseases.
BTB testing using the comparative intradermal skin test (CIDT) was done on 584 milking cows, out of which 417 were serologically tested for brucellosis using the Rose Bengal Plate Test and reactors confirmed with an indirect ELISA test (PrioCHECK®). The individual animal prevalence was 0.3% (95% CI 0.1% to 1.3%) for BTB, 1.7% (95% CI 0.8% to 3.5%) for brucellosis and 8.9% (95% CI 6.8% to 11.5%) for MAC (Mycobacterium avium complex). Of the 13 milk cooperatives, two had at least one positive BTB reactor and five had animals positive for brucellosis.
Cross-breeds accounted for 100% and 71.4% of the BTB and brucellosis reactors respectively. For both diseases, there were prevalence variations depending on Woreda. No animal was concomitant reactor for BTB and brucellosis.
Raw milk was consumed by 55.4% of the respondents. 79.2% of the respondents reported touching the afterbirth with bare hands. The latter was fed to dogs in 83% of the households. One cow among the herds of the 130 interviewees had aborted in the last 12 months. Among the interviewees, 77% stated knowing tuberculosis in general but 42 out of the 130 respondents (32.3%) did not know that BTB was transmitted by livestock. Less than half (47.7%) of the respondents knew about brucellosis.
Low prevalence of both diseases reflected the potential for the area to compete with the growing milk demand. The authors discussed the possible control strategies for the area.
PMCID: PMC3751185  PMID: 23941112
Bovine brucellosis; Bovine tuberculosis; Cattle; Milk cooperatives; Disease prevalence; Ethiopia
12.  Mycobacterial Lineages Causing Pulmonary and Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis, Ethiopia 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2013;19(3):460-463.
Molecular typing of 964 specimens from patients in Ethiopia with lymph node or pulmonary tuberculosis showed a similar distribution of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains between the 2 disease manifestations and a minimal role for M. bovis. We report a novel phylogenetic lineage of M. tuberculosis strongly associated with the Horn of Africa.
PMCID: PMC3647644  PMID: 23622814
Tuberculosis and other mycobacteria; tuberculosis; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Mycobacterium bovis; bacteria; bovine; pulmonary tuberculosis; extrapulmonary tuberculosis; TB lymphadenitis; cervical lymph nodes; lymph nodes; lineage; zoonoses; zoonotic transmission; Ethiopia
13.  Molecular Epidemiology and Antibiotic Susceptibility of Livestock Brucella melitensis Isolates from Naryn Oblast, Kyrgyzstan 
The incidence of human brucellosis in Kyrgyzstan has been increasing in the last years and was identified as a priority disease needing most urgent control measures in the livestock population. The latest species identification of Brucella isolates in Kyrgyzstan was carried out in the 1960s and investigated the circulation of Brucella abortus, B. melitensis, B. ovis, and B. suis. However, supporting data and documentation of that experience are lacking. Therefore, typing of Brucella spp. and identification of the most important host species are necessary for the understanding of the main transmission routes and to adopt an effective brucellosis control policy in Kyrgyzstan. Overall, 17 B. melitensis strains from aborted fetuses of sheep and cattle isolated in the province of Naryn were studied. All strains were susceptible to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, gentamicin, rifampin, ofloxacin, streptomycin, doxycycline, and ciprofloxacin. Multilocus variable number tandem repeat analysis showed low genetic diversity. Kyrgyz strains seem to be genetically associated with the Eastern Mediterranean group of the Brucella global phylogeny. We identified and confirmed transmission of B. melitensis to cattle and a close genetic relationship between B. melitensis strains isolated from sheep sharing the same pasture.
Author Summary
Brucellosis is a bacterial disease causing abortion in cattle, sheep, and goats. It is transmissible to humans by direct transmission and the consumption of untreated milk. Brucellosis has become more and more frequent in Kyrgyzstan in the last decades, and its control has been made a priority. Knowing the bacterial strain circulating is important for the understanding of the transmission and the selection of interventions. The latest identification of Brucella in Kyrgyzstan dates from the 1960s. We report the molecular characterization 17 strains identified as Brucella melitensis from Naryn oblast. Strains were mainly isolated from sheep but also from cattle. All strains were susceptible to a series of antibiotics. We hence identified and confirmed transmission of B. melitensis among sheep which is likely the most important host species. We found close genetic relationship between B. melitensis strains isolated from cattle sharing the same pasture with sheep. Our results support the strategy of pursuing a mass vaccination of livestock in Kyrgyzstan. Further research is needed to identify the most important circulating strains in humans.
PMCID: PMC3584998  PMID: 23469294
14.  Convergence of Ecohealth and One Health 
Ecohealth  2013;9(4):371-373.
PMCID: PMC3627853  PMID: 23392841
16.  Clinical Manifestations of Human Brucellosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
The objectives of this systematic review, commissioned by WHO, were to assess the frequency and severity of clinical manifestations of human brucellosis, in view of specifying a disability weight for a DALY calculation.
Methods/Principal Findings
Thirty three databases were searched, with 2,385 articles published between January 1990–June 2010 identified as relating to human brucellosis. Fifty-seven studies were of sufficient quality for data extraction. Pooled proportions of cases with specific clinical manifestations were stratified by age category and sex and analysed using generalized linear mixed models. Data relating to duration of illness and risk factors were also extracted. Severe complications of brucellosis infection were not rare, with 1 case of endocarditis and 4 neurological cases per 100 patients. One in 10 men suffered from epididymo-orchitis. Debilitating conditions such as arthralgia, myalgia and back pain affected around half of the patients (65%, 47% and 45%, respectively). Given that 78% patients had fever, brucellosis poses a diagnostic challenge in malaria-endemic areas. Significant delays in appropriate diagnosis and treatment were the result of health service inadequacies and socioeconomic factors. Based on disability weights from the 2004 Global Burden of Disease Study, a disability weight of 0.150 is proposed as the first informed estimate for chronic, localised brucellosis and 0.190 for acute brucellosis.
This systematic review adds to the understanding of the global burden of brucellosis, one of the most common zoonoses worldwide. The severe, debilitating, and chronic impact of brucellosis is highlighted. Well designed epidemiological studies from regions lacking in data would allow a more complete understanding of the clinical manifestations of disease and exposure risks, and provide further evidence for policy-makers. As this is the first informed estimate of a disability weight for brucellosis, there is a need for further debate amongst brucellosis experts and a consensus to be reached.
Author Summary
Brucellosis is a bacterial disease transmitted to humans by consumption of infected, unpasteurised animal milk or through direct contact with infected animals, particularly aborted foetuses. The livestock production losses resulting from these abortions have a major economic impact on individuals and communities. Infected people often suffer from a chronic, debilitating illness. This systematic review on the symptoms of human brucellosis is the first ever conducted. Using strict exclusion criteria, 57 scientific articles published between January 1990–June 2010 which included high quality data were identified. Severe complications of brucellosis infection were not rare, with 1 case of endocarditis and 4 neurological cases per 100 patients. One in 10 men suffered from testicular infection, which can case sterility. Debilitating conditions such as joint, muscle, and back pain affected around half of the patients. Given that most patients had fever, brucellosis poses a diagnostic challenge in malaria-endemic areas where fever is often assumed to be malaria. More high quality data is needed for a more complete understanding of the clinical manifestations of disease and exposure risks, and to provide further evidence for policy-makers.
PMCID: PMC3516581  PMID: 23236528
17.  Domestic dog demographic structure and dynamics relevant to rabies control planning in urban areas in Africa: the case of Iringa, Tanzania 
Mass vaccinations of domestic dogs have been shown to effectively control canine rabies and hence human exposure to rabies. Knowledge of dog population demography is essential for planning effective rabies vaccination programmes; however, such information is still rare for African domestic dog populations, particularly so in urban areas. This study describes the demographic structure and population dynamics of a domestic dog population in an urban sub-Saharan African setting. In July to November 2005, we conducted a full household-level census and a cross-sectional dog demography survey in four urban wards of Iringa Municipality, Tanzania. The achievable vaccination coverage was assessed by a two-stage vaccination campaign, and the proportion of feral dogs was estimated by a mark-recapture transect study.
The estimated size of the domestic dog population in Iringa was six times larger than official town records assumed, however, the proportion of feral dogs was estimated to account for less than 1% of the whole population. An average of 13% of all households owned dogs which equalled a dog:human ratio of 1:14, or 0.31 dogs per household or 334 dogs km-2. Dog female:male ratio was 1:1.4. The average age of the population was 2.2 years, 52% of all individuals were less than one year old. But mortality within the first year was high (72%). Females became fertile at the age of 10 months and reportedly remained fertile up to the age of 11 years. The average number of litters whelped per fertile female per year was 0.6 with an average of 5.5 pups born per litter. The population growth was estimated at 10% y-1.
Such high birth and death rates result in a rapid replacement of anti-rabies immunised individuals with susceptible ones. This loss in herd immunity needs to be taken into account in the design of rabies control programmes. The very small proportion of truly feral dogs in the population implies that vaccination campaigns aimed at the owned dog population are sufficient to control rabies in urban Iringa, and the same may be valid in other, comparable urban settings.
PMCID: PMC3534358  PMID: 23217194
18.  Global Burden of Human Brucellosis: A Systematic Review of Disease Frequency 
This report presents a systematic review of scientific literature published between 1990–2010 relating to the frequency of human brucellosis, commissioned by WHO. The objectives were to identify high quality disease incidence data to complement existing knowledge of the global disease burden and, ultimately, to contribute towards the calculation of a Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALY) estimate for brucellosis.
Methods/Principal Findings
Thirty three databases were searched, identifying 2,385 articles relating to human brucellosis. Based on strict screening criteria, 60 studies were selected for quality assessment, of which only 29 were of sufficient quality for data analysis. Data were only available from 15 countries in the regions of Northern Africa and Middle East, Western Europe, Central and South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central Asia. Half of the studies presented incidence data, six of which were longitudinal prospective studies, and half presented seroprevalence data which were converted to incidence rates. Brucellosis incidence varied widely between, and within, countries. Although study biases cannot be ruled out, demographic, occupational, and socioeconomic factors likely play a role. Aggregated data at national or regional levels do not capture these complexities of disease dynamics and, consequently, at-risk populations or areas may be overlooked. In many brucellosis-endemic countries, health systems are weak and passively-acquired official data underestimate the true disease burden.
High quality research is essential for an accurate assessment of disease burden, particularly in Eastern Europe, the Asia-Pacific, Central and South America and Africa where data are lacking. Providing formal epidemiological and statistical training to researchers is essential for improving study quality. An integrated approach to disease surveillance involving both human health and veterinary services would allow a better understanding of disease dynamics at the animal-human interface, as well as a more cost-effective utilisation of resources.
Author Summary
Brucellosis is a bacterial disease transmitted to humans by consumption of infected, unpasteurised animal milk or through direct contact with infected animals, particularly aborted foetuses. The livestock production losses resulting from these abortions have a major economic impact on individuals and communities. Infected people often suffer from a chronic, debilitating illness. This systematic review of the incidence of human brucellosis is the first ever conducted. Using strict exclusion criteria, 28 scientific articles published between January 1990–June 2010 which included high quality data were identified. Half of these studies presented incidence data and half presented seroprevalence data which were converted to incidence rates. Data were only available from 15 countries in the regions of Northern Africa and Middle East, Western Europe, Central and South America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia. Brucellosis incidence varied widely between and within countries. Demographic, occupational and socioeconomic factors may play a role in these differences. In many brucellosis-endemic countries, health systems are weak, and official data are likely to underestimate the true disease burden. High quality research is needed, particularly from Eastern Europe, the Asia-Pacific, Central and South America and Africa. An integrated approach to disease surveillance involving both human health and veterinary services would allow a better understanding of the disease, as well as a more cost-effective utilisation of resources.
PMCID: PMC3493380  PMID: 23145195
19.  Exploring prospects of novel drugs for tuberculosis 
Tuberculosis remains a disease with an enormous impact on public health worldwide. With the continuously increasing epidemic of drug-resistant tuberculosis, new drugs are desperately needed. However, even for the treatment of drug-sensitive tuberculosis, new drugs are required to shorten the treatment duration and thereby prevent development of drug resistance. Within the past ten years, major advances in tuberculosis drug research have been made, leading to a considerable number of antimycobacterial compounds which are now in the pipeline. Here we discuss a number of these novel promising tuberculosis drugs, as well as the discovery of two new potential drug targets for the development of novel effective drugs to curb the tuberculosis pandemic, ie, the coronin 1 and protein kinase G pathways. Protein kinase G is secreted by mycobacteria and is responsible for blocking lysosomal delivery within the macrophage. Coronin 1 is responsible for activating the phosphatase, calcineurin, and thereby preventing phagosome-lysosome fusion within the macrophage. Blocking these two pathways may lead to rapid killing of mycobacteria.
PMCID: PMC3439222  PMID: 22973091
tuberculosis; treatment; drug-resistance; drug targets
21.  Mainstreaming One Health 
Ecohealth  2012;9(2):107-110.
PMCID: PMC3415611  PMID: 22777051
22.  Zoonotic Transmission of Tuberculosis Between Pastoralists and Their Livestock in South-East Ethiopia 
Ecohealth  2012;9(2):139-149.
Despite huge global efforts in tuberculosis (TB) control, pastoral areas remain under-investigated. During two years sputum and fine needle aspirate (FNA) specimens were collected from 260 Ethiopian pastoralists of Oromia and Somali Regional States with suspected pulmonary TB and from 32 cases with suspected TB lymphadenitis. In parallel, 207 suspected tuberculous lesions were collected from cattle, camels and goats at abattoirs. All specimens were processed and cultured for mycobacteria; samples with acid-fast stained bacilli (AFB) were further characterized by molecular methods including genus and deletion typing as well as spoligotyping. Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) were sequenced at the 16S rDNA locus. Culturing of AFB from human sputum and FNA samples gave a yield of 174 (67%) and 9 (28%) isolates, respectively. Molecular typing was performed on 173 of these isolates and 160 were confirmed as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, three as M. bovis, and the remaining 10 were typed as NTMs. Similarly, 48 AFB isolates (23%) yielded from tuberculous lesions of livestock, of which 39 were molecular typed, including 24 M. bovis and 4 NTMs from cattle, 1 M. tuberculosis and 1 NTM from camels and 9 NTMs from goats. Isolation of M. bovis from humans and M. tuberculosis from livestock suggests transmission between livestock and humans in the pastoral areas of South-East Ethiopia
PMCID: PMC3415617  PMID: 22526748
mycobacteria; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Mycobacterium bovis; humans; cattle; camels
23.  A One Health Framework for Estimating the Economic Costs of Zoonotic Diseases on Society 
Ecohealth  2012;9(2):150-162.
This article presents an integrated epidemiological and economic framework for assessing zoonoses using a “one health” concept. The framework allows for an understanding of the cross-sector economic impact of zoonoses using modified risk analysis and detailing a range of analytical tools. The goal of the framework is to link the analysis outputs of animal and human disease transmission models, economic impact models and evaluation of risk management options to gain improved understanding of factors affecting the adoption of risk management strategies so that investment planning includes the most promising interventions (or sets of interventions) in an integrated fashion. A more complete understanding of the costs of the disease and the costs and benefits of control measures would promote broader implementation of the most efficient and effective control measures, contributing to improved animal and human health, better livelihood outcomes for the poor and macroeconomic growth.
PMCID: PMC3415616  PMID: 22395956
one health; economic costs; zoonotic diseases
24.  Low prevalence of bovine tuberculosis in Somali pastoral livestock, southeast Ethiopia 
A cross-sectional study of bovine tuberculosis (BTB) detected by the comparative intradermal tuberculin test (CIDT) was conducted in livestock of the Somali region in southeast Ethiopia—in four pastoral associations from January to August 2009. In 94 herds, each of 15 cattle, camels, and goats was tested per herd leading to a total of 1,418 CIDT tested animals, with 421 cattle, 479 camels, and 518 goats. A herd was considered positive if it had at least one reactor. Prevalence per animal species was calculated using a xtgee model for each species. The individual animal prevalence was 2.0% [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.5–8.4], 0.4% (95% CI, 0.1–3%), and 0.2% (95% CI, 0.03–1.3) in cattle, camels, and goats, respectively. Prevalence of avian mycobacterium purified protein derivative (PPD) reactors in cattle, camels, and goats was 0.7% (95% CI, 0.2–2.0%), 10.0% (95% CI, 7.0–14.0%), and 1.9 (95% CI, 0.9–4.0%), respectively, whereby camels had an odds ratio of 16.5 (95% CI, 5.0–55.0) when compared to cattle. There was no significant difference between livestock species in BTB positivity. In the present study, the prevalence of bovine tuberculosis was low in Somali pastoral livestock in general and in camels and goats in particular. The high proportion of camel reactors to avian PPD needs further investigation of its impact on camel production.
PMCID: PMC3508281  PMID: 22286399
CIDT, bovine tuberculosis, camel, cattle, goats; Pastoralist; Somali region; Ethiopia
25.  Identification of an African Bacillus anthracis Lineage That Lacks Expression of the Spore Surface-Associated Anthrose-Containing Oligosaccharide▿ 
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(14):3506-3511.
The surfaces of Bacillus anthracis endospores expose a pentasaccharide containing the monosaccharide anthrose, which has been considered for use as a vaccine or target for specific detection of the spores. In this study B. anthracis strains isolated from cattle carcasses in African countries where anthrax is endemic were tested for their cross-reactivity with monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) specific for anthrose-containing oligosaccharides. Unexpectedly, none of the isolates collected in Chad, Cameroon, and Mali were recognized by the MAbs. Sequencing of the four-gene operon encoding anthrose biosynthetic enzymes revealed the presence of premature stop codons in the aminotransferase and glycosyltransferase genes in all isolates from Chad, Cameroon, and Mali. Both immunological and genetic findings suggest that the West African isolates are unable to produce anthrose. The anthrose-deficient strains from West Africa belong to a particular genetic lineage. Immunization of cattle in Chad with a locally produced vaccine based on anthrose-positive spores of the B. anthracis strain Sterne elicited an anti-carbohydrate IgG response specific for a synthetic anthrose-containing tetrasaccharide as demonstrated by glycan microarray analysis. Competition immunoblots with synthetic pentasaccharide derivatives suggested an immunodominant role of the anthrose-containing carbohydrate in cattle. In West Africa anthrax is highly endemic. Massive vaccination of livestock in this area has taken place over long periods of time using spores of the anthrose-positive vaccine strain Sterne. The spread of anthrose-deficient strains in this region may represent an escape strategy of B. anthracis.
PMCID: PMC3133313  PMID: 21571994

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