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author:("dartois, Marc")
1.  Distribution of Leptospira Serogroups in Cattle Herds and Dogs in France 
A retrospective study was conducted to identify and describe the distribution pattern of Leptospira serogroups in domestic animals in France. The population consisted of cattle herds and dogs with clinically suspected leptospirosis that were tested at the “Laboratoire des Leptospires” between 2008 and 2011. The laboratory database was queried for records of cattle and dogs in which seroreactivity in Leptospira microagglutination tests was consistent with a recent or current infection, excluding vaccine serogroups in dogs. A total of 394 cattle herds and 232 dogs were diagnosed with clinical leptospirosis, and the results suggested infection by the Leptospira serogroup Australis in 43% and 63%, respectively; by the Leptospira serogroup Grippotyphosa in 17% and 9%, respectively; and by the Leptospira serogroup Sejroe in 33% and 6%, respectively. This inventory of infecting Leptospira serogroups revealed that current vaccines in France are not fully capable of preventing the clinical form of the disease.
PMCID: PMC4183399  PMID: 25092816
2.  High-Resolution Typing of Leptospira interrogans Strains by Multispacer Sequence Typing 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(2):564-571.
Leptospirosis is a worldwide zoonosis which is responsible for the typical form of Weil's disease. The epidemiological surveillance of the Leptospira species agent is important for host prevalence control. Although the genotyping methods have progressed, the identification of some serovars remains ambiguous. We investigated the multispacer sequence typing (MST) method for genotyping strains belonging to the species Leptospira interrogans, which is the main agent of leptospirosis worldwide. A total of 33 DNA samples isolated from the reference strains of L. interrogans serogroups Icterohaemorrhagiae, Australis, Canicola, and Grippotyphosa, which are the most prevalent serogroups in France, were analyzed by both the variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) and MST methods. An MST database has been constructed from the DNA of these reference strains to define the MST profiles. The MST profiles corroborated with the VNTR results. Moreover, the MST analysis allowed the identification at the serovar level or potentially to the isolate level for strains belonging to L. interrogans serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae, which then results in a higher resolution than VNTR (Hunter-Gaston index of 0.94 versus 0.68). Regarding L. interrogans serogroups Australis, Canicola, and Grippotyphosa, the MST and VNTR methods similarly identified the genotype. The MST method enabled the acquisition of simple and robust results that were based on the nucleotide sequences. The MST identified clinical isolates in correlation with the reference serovar profiles, thus permitting an epidemiological surveillance of circulating L. interrogans strains, especially for the Icterohaemorrhagiae serogroup, which includes the most prevalent strains of public health interest.
PMCID: PMC3911330  PMID: 24478489
4.  PCR detection and analyzis of potentially zoonotic Hepatitis E virus in French rats 
Virology Journal  2014;11:90.
Hepatitis E virus has been detected in a wide range of animals. While Genotypes 1-2 of this virus infect only humans, 3-4 can spread from animals to humans and cause sporadic cases of human disease. Pig, and possibly also rats, may act as a reservoir for virus. From a public health perspective it is important to clarify the role of rats for infection of humans. Rats often live close to humans and are therefore of special interest to public health. Rats live of waste and inside the sewage system and may become infected. Reports of hepatitis E virus in rats have been published but not from France. The possibility that rats in an urban area in France were Hepatitis E virus infected, with which type and relationship to other strains was investigated. This study provides information important to public health and better understanding the occurrence of hepatitis E virus in the environment.
Eighty one rats (Rattus Norvegicus) were captured, euthanized, sampled (liver and faeces) and analyzed by real-time RT-PCR’s, one specific for Hepatitis E virus in rats and one specific for genotype 1-4 that that is known to infect humans. Positive samples were analyzed by a nested broad spectrum RT-PCR, sequenced and compared with sequences in Genbank.
Twelve liver and 11 faeces samples out of 81 liver and 81 faeces samples from 81 captured rats were positive in the PCR specific for Hepatitis E virus in rats and none in the PCR specific for genotype 1-4. Comparison by nucleotide BLAST showed a maximum of 87% similarity to Hepatitis E virus previously detected in rats and significantly less to genotype 1-4.
This is the first study demonstrating that rats in France carries hepatitis E virus and provide information regarding its relation to other virus strains previously detected in rats and other host animals world-wide. Genotype 1-4 was not detected.
PMCID: PMC4040512  PMID: 24886183
Hepatitis E; Rat; Zoonoses; PCR
5.  Use of Wild Bird Surveillance, Human Case Data and GIS Spatial Analysis for Predicting Spatial Distributions of West Nile Virus in Greece 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96935.
West Nile Virus (WNV) is the causative agent of a vector-borne, zoonotic disease with a worldwide distribution. Recent expansion and introduction of WNV into new areas, including southern Europe, has been associated with severe disease in humans and equids, and has increased concerns regarding the need to prevent and control future WNV outbreaks. Since 2010, 524 confirmed human cases of the disease have been reported in Greece with greater than 10% mortality. Infected mosquitoes, wild birds, equids, and chickens have been detected and associated with human disease. The aim of our study was to establish a monitoring system with wild birds and reported human cases data using Geographical Information System (GIS). Potential distribution of WNV was modelled by combining wild bird serological surveillance data with environmental factors (e.g. elevation, slope, land use, vegetation density, temperature, precipitation indices, and population density). Local factors including areas of low altitude and proximity to water were important predictors of appearance of both human and wild bird cases (Odds Ratio = 1,001 95%CI = 0,723–1,386). Using GIS analysis, the identified risk factors were applied across Greece identifying the northern part of Greece (Macedonia, Thrace) western Greece and a number of Greek islands as being at highest risk of future outbreaks. The results of the analysis were evaluated and confirmed using the 161 reported human cases of the 2012 outbreak predicting correctly (Odds = 130/31 = 4,194 95%CI = 2,841–6,189) and more areas were identified for potential dispersion in the following years. Our approach verified that WNV risk can be modelled in a fast cost-effective way indicating high risk areas where prevention measures should be implemented in order to reduce the disease incidence.
PMCID: PMC4013071  PMID: 24806216
6.  Detection and genetic characterization of Seoul Virus from commensal brown rats in France 
Virology Journal  2014;11:32.
Hantaviruses are single-stranded RNA viruses, which are transmitted to humans primarily via inhalation of aerosolised virus in contaminated rodent urine and faeces. Whilst infected reservoir hosts are asymptomatic, human infections can lead to two clinical manifestations, haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS), with varying degrees of clinical severity. The incidence of rodent and human cases of Seoul virus (SEOV) in Europe has been considered to be low, and speculated to be driven by the sporadic introduction of infected brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) via ports.
Between October 2010 and March 2012, 128 brown rats were caught at sites across the Lyon region in France.
SEOV RNA was detected in the lungs of 14% (95% CI 8.01 – 20.11) of brown rats tested using a nested pan-hantavirus RT-PCR (polymerase gene). Phylogenetic analysis supports the inclusion of the Lyon SEOV within Lineage 7 with SEOV strains originating from SE Asia and the previously reported French & Belgian SEOV strains. Sequence data obtained from the recent human SEOV case (Replonges) was most similar to that obtained from one brown rat trapped in a public park in Lyon city centre. We obtained significantly improved recovery of virus genome sequence directly from SEOV infected lung material using a simple viral enrichment approach and NGS technology.
The detection of SEOV in two wild caught brown rats in the UK and the multiple detection of SEOV infected brown rats in the Lyon region of France, suggests that SEOV is circulating in European brown rats. Under-reporting and difficulties in identifying the hantaviruses associated with HFRS may mask the public health impact of SEOV in Europe.
PMCID: PMC3944734  PMID: 24555484
Hantavirus; SEOV; France; Brown rat; Rattus norvegicus; Next generation sequencing; Viral enrichment
7.  Unsupervised clustering of wildlife necropsy data for syndromic surveillance 
The importance of wildlife disease surveillance is increasing, because wild animals are playing a growing role as sources of emerging infectious disease events in humans. Syndromic surveillance methods have been developed as a complement to traditional health data analyses, to allow the early detection of unusual health events. Early detection of these events in wildlife could help to protect the health of domestic animals or humans. This paper aims to define syndromes that could be used for the syndromic surveillance of wildlife health data. Wildlife disease monitoring in France, from 1986 onward, has allowed numerous diagnostic data to be collected from wild animals found dead. The authors wanted to identify distinct pathological profiles from these historical data by a global analysis of the registered necropsy descriptions, and discuss how these profiles can be used to define syndromes. In view of the multiplicity and heterogeneity of the available information, the authors suggest constructing syndromic classes by a multivariate statistical analysis and classification procedure grouping cases that share similar pathological characteristics.
A three-step procedure was applied: first, a multiple correspondence analysis was performed on necropsy data to reduce them to their principal components. Then hierarchical ascendant clustering was used to partition the data. Finally the k-means algorithm was applied to strengthen the partitioning. Nine clusters were identified: three were species- and disease-specific, three were suggestive of specific pathological conditions but not species-specific, two covered a broader pathological condition and one was miscellaneous. The clusters reflected the most distinct and most frequent disease entities on which the surveillance network focused. They could be used to define distinct syndromes characterised by specific post-mortem findings.
The chosen statistical clustering method was found to be a useful tool to retrospectively group cases from our database into distinct and meaningful pathological entities. Syndrome definition from post-mortem findings is potentially useful for early outbreak detection because it uses the earliest available information on disease in wildlife. Furthermore, the proposed typology allows each case to be attributed to a syndrome, thus enabling the exhaustive surveillance of health events through time series analyses.
PMCID: PMC3018415  PMID: 21162732

Results 1-7 (7)