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1.  Brucella melitensis in France: Persistence in Wildlife and Probable Spillover from Alpine Ibex to Domestic Animals 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94168.
Bovine brucellosis is a major zoonosis, mainly caused by Brucella abortus, more rarely by Brucella melitensis. France has been bovine brucellosis officially-free since 2005 with no cases reported in domestic/wild ruminants since 2003. In 2012, bovine and autochthonous human cases due to B. melitensis biovar 3 (Bmel3) occurred in the French Alps. Epidemiological investigations implemented in wild and domestic ruminants evidenced a high seroprevalence (>45%) in Alpine ibex (Capra ibex); no cases were disclosed in other domestic or wild ruminants, except for one isolated case in a chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra). These results raised the question of a possible persistence/emergence of Brucella in wildlife. The purpose of this study was to assess genetic relationships among the Bmel3 strains historically isolated in humans, domestic and wild ruminants in Southeastern France, over two decades, by the MLVA-panel2B assay, and to propose a possible explanation for the origin of the recent bovine and human infections. Indeed, this genotyping strategy proved to be efficient for this microepidemiological investigation using an interpretation cut-off established for a fine-scale setting. The isolates, from the 2012 domestic/human outbreak harbored an identical genotype, confirming a recent and direct contamination from cattle to human. Interestingly, they clustered not only with isolates from wildlife in 2012, but also with local historical domestic isolates, in particular with the 1999 last bovine case in the same massif. Altogether, our results suggest that the recent bovine outbreak could have originated from the Alpine ibex population. This is the first report of a B. melitensis spillover from wildlife to domestic ruminants and the sustainability of the infection in Alpine ibex. However, this wild population, reintroduced in the 1970s in an almost closed massif, might be considered as a semi-domestic free-ranging herd. Anthropogenic factors could therefore account with the high observed intra-species prevalence.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094168
PMCID: PMC3986073  PMID: 24732322
2.  MLVA16 Typing of Portuguese Human and Animal Brucella melitensis and Brucella abortus Isolates 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42514.
To investigate the epidemiological relationship of isolates from different Portuguese geographical regions and to assess the diversity among isolates, the MLVA16Orsay assay (panels 1, 2A and 2B) was performed with a collection of 126 Brucella melitensis (46 human and 80 animal isolates) and 157 B. abortus field isolates, seven vaccine strains and the representative reference strains of each species. The MLVA16Orsay showed a similar high discriminatory power (HGDI 0.972 and 0.902) for both species but panel 1 and 2A markers displayed higher diversity (HGDI 0.693) in B. abortus compared to B. melitensis isolates (HGDI 0.342). The B. melitensis population belong to the “Americas” (17%) and “East Mediterranean” (83%) groups. No isolate belonged to the “West Mediterranean” group. Eighty-five percent of the human isolates (39 in 46) fit in the “East-Mediterranean” group where a single lineage known as MLVA11 genotype 116 is responsible for the vast majority of Brucella infections in humans. B. abortus isolates formed a consistent group with bv1 and bv3 isolates in different clusters. Four MLVA11 genotypes were observed for the first time in isolates from S. Jorge and Terceira islands from Azores. From the collection of isolates analysed in this study we conclude that MLVA16Orsay provided a clear view of Brucella spp. population, confirming epidemiological linkage in outbreak investigations. In particular, it suggests recent and ongoing colonisation of Portugal with one B. melitensis lineage usually associated with East Mediterranean countries.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042514
PMCID: PMC3419166  PMID: 22905141
3.  Assessment of the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of an indirect ELISA kit for the diagnosis of Brucella ovis infection in rams 
Background
Brucella ovis causes an infectious disease responsible for infertility and subsequent economic losses in sheep production. The standard serological test to detect B. ovis infection in rams is the complement fixation test (CFT), which has imperfect sensitivity and specificity in addition to technical drawbacks. Other available tests include the indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (I-ELISA) but no I-ELISA kit has been fully evaluated.
The study aimed to compare an I-ELISA kit and the standard CFT. Our study was carried out on serum samples from 4599 rams from the South of France where the disease is enzootic. A Bayesian approach was used to estimate tests characteristics (diagnostic sensitivity, Se and diagnostic specificity, Sp). The tests were then studied together in order to optimise testing strategies to detect B. ovis.
Results
After optimising the cut-off values in order to avoid doubtful results without deteriorating the concordance between the results of the two tests, the I-ELISA appeared to be slightly more sensitive than CFT (Se I-ELISA = 0.917 [0.822; 0.992], 95% Credibility Interval (CrI) compared to Se CFT = 0.860 [0.740; 0.967], 95% CrI). However, CFT was slightly more specific than I-ELISA (Sp CFT = 0.988 [0.947; 1.0], 95% CrI) compared to Sp I-ELISA =0.952 [0.901; 1.0], 95% CrI).
The tests were then associated with two different interpretation schemes. The series association increased the specificity of screening and could be used for pre-movement testing in rams from uninfected flocks. The parallel association increased sequence sensitivity, thus appearing more suitable for eradicating the disease in infected flocks.
Conclusions
The high sensitivity and acceptable specificity of this I-ELISA kit support its potential interest to avoid the limitations of CFT. The two tests could also be used together or combined with other diagnostic methods such as semen culture to improve the testing strategy. The choice of test sequence and interpretation criteria depends on the epidemiological context, screening objectives and the financial and practical constraints.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-68
PMCID: PMC3391974  PMID: 22640401
Brucella ovis; Diagnostic tests; CFT; I-ELISA; Sensitivity; Specificity; Bayesian approach

Results 1-4 (4)