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1.  Relationship between Presence of Cows with Milk Positive for Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis-Specific Antibody by Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay and Viable M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in Dust in Cattle Barns 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2013;79(18):5458-5464.
Paratuberculosis, or Johne's disease, in cattle is caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, which has recently been suspected to be transmitted through dust. This longitudinal study on eight commercial M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-positive dairy farms studied the relationship between the number of cows with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis antibody-positive milk and the presence of viable M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in settled-dust samples, including their temporal relationship. Milk and dust samples were collected in parallel monthly for 2 years. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis antibodies in milk were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and used as a proxy for M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis shedding. Settled-dust samples were collected by using electrostatic dust collectors (EDCs) at six locations in housing for dairy cattle and young stock. The presence of viable M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis was identified by liquid culture and PCR. The results showed a positive relationship (odds ratio [OR], 1.2) between the number of cows with ELISA-positive milk and the odds of having positive EDCs in the same airspace as the adult dairy cattle. Moreover, the total number of lactating cows also showed an OR slightly above 1. This relationship remained the same for settled-dust samples collected up to 2 months before or after the time of milk sampling. The results suggest that removal of adult cows with milk positive for M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-specific antibody by ELISA might result in a decrease in the presence of viable M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in dust and therefore in the environment. However, this decrease is likely delayed by several weeks at least. In addition, the data support the notion that M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis exposure of young stock is reduced by separate housing.
doi:10.1128/AEM.01187-13
PMCID: PMC3754181  PMID: 23793639
2.  Calf-Level Factors Associated with Bovine Neonatal Pancytopenia – A Multi-Country Case-Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80619.
Bovine neonatal pancytopenia (BNP), a high fatality condition causing haemorrhages in calves aged less than 4 weeks, was first reported in 2007 in Germany and subsequently observed at low incidence in other European countries and New Zealand. A multi-country matched case-control study was conducted in 2011 to identify calf-level risk factors for BNP. 405 BNP cases were recruited from 330 farms in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands by laboratory confirmation of farmer-reported cases. Up to four calves of similar age from the same farm were selected as controls (1154 calves). Risk factor data were collected by questionnaire. Multivariable modelling using conditional logistic regression indicated that PregSure®BVD (PregSure, Pfizer Animal Health) vaccination of the dam was strongly associated with BNP cases (adjusted matched Odds Ratio - amOR 17.8 first lactation dams; 95% confidence interval – ci 2.4, 134.4; p = 0.005), and second or more lactation PregSure-vaccinated dams were more likely to have a case than first lactation vaccinated dams (amOR 2.2 second lactation; ci 1.1, 4.3; p = 0.024; amOR 5.3 third or more lactation; ci 2.9, 9.8; p = <0.001). Feeding colostrum from other cows was strongly associated with BNP if the dam was not PregSure-vaccinated (amOR 30.5; ci 2.1, 440.5; p = 0.012), but the effect was less if the dam was PregSure-vaccinated (amOR 2.1; ci 1.1, 4.0; p = 0.024). Feeding exclusively dam’s milk was a higher risk than other types of milk (amOR 3.4; ci 1.6, 7.5; p = 0.002). The population attributable fractions were 0.84 (ci 0.68, 0.92) for PregSure vaccination, 0.13 (ci 0.06, 0.19) for feeding other cows’ colostrum, and 0.15 (ci 0.08, 0.22) for feeding dam’s milk. No other calf-level factors were identified, suggesting that there are other important factors that are outside the scope of this study, such as genetics, which explain why BNP develops in some PregSure-colostrum-exposed calves but not in others.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080619
PMCID: PMC3846664  PMID: 24312485
3.  Experimental Inoculation of Male Rats with Coxiella burnetii: Successful Infection but No Transmission to Cage Mates 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(16):5661-5665.
Beginning in 2007, the largest human Q fever outbreak ever described occurred in the Netherlands. Dairy goats from intensive farms were identified as the source, amplifying Coxiella burnetii during gestation and shedding large quantities during abortions. It has been postulated that wild rodents are reservoir hosts from which C. burnetii can be transmitted to domestic animals and humans. However, little is known about the infection dynamics of C. burnetii in wild rodents. The aim of this study was to investigate whether brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) can be experimentally infected with C. burnetii and whether transmission to a cage mates occurs. Fourteen male brown rats (wild type) were intratracheally or intranasally inoculated with a Dutch C. burnetii isolate obtained from a goat. At 3 days postinoculation, a contact rat was placed with each inoculated rat. The pairs were monitored using blood samples and rectal and throat swabs for 8 weeks, and after euthanasia the spleens were collected. Rats became infected by both inoculation routes, and detection of C. burnetii DNA in swabs suggests that excretion occurred. However, based on the negative spleens in PCR and the lack of seroconversion, none of the contact animals was considered infected; thus, no transmission was observed. The reproduction ratio R0 was estimated to be 0 (95% confidence interval = 0 to 0.6), indicating that it is unlikely that rats act as reservoir host of C. burnetii through sustained transmission between male rats. Future research should focus on other transmission routes, such as vertical transmission or bacterial shedding during parturition.
doi:10.1128/AEM.01169-12
PMCID: PMC3406142  PMID: 22685149
4.  Detection of Coxiella burnetii DNA in Inhalable Airborne Dust Samples from Goat Farms after Mandatory Culling 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(15):5410-5412.
Coxiella burnetii is thought to infect humans primarily via airborne transmission. However, air measurements of C. burnetii are sparse. We detected C. burnetii DNA in inhalable and PM10 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic size of 10 μm or less) dust samples collected at three affected goat farms, demonstrating that low levels of C. burnetii DNA are present in inhalable size fractions.
doi:10.1128/AEM.00677-12
PMCID: PMC3416441  PMID: 22582072
5.  Identifying associations between pig pathologies using a multi-dimensional machine learning methodology 
Background
Abattoir detected pathologies are of crucial importance to both pig production and food safety. Usually, more than one pathology coexist in a pig herd although it often remains unknown how these different pathologies interrelate to each other. Identification of the associations between different pathologies may facilitate an improved understanding of their underlying biological linkage, and support the veterinarians in encouraging control strategies aimed at reducing the prevalence of not just one, but two or more conditions simultaneously.
Results
Multi-dimensional machine learning methodology was used to identify associations between ten typical pathologies in 6485 batches of slaughtered finishing pigs, assisting the comprehension of their biological association. Pathologies potentially associated with septicaemia (e.g. pericarditis, peritonitis) appear interrelated, suggesting on-going bacterial challenges by pathogens such as Haemophilus parasuis and Streptococcus suis. Furthermore, hepatic scarring appears interrelated with both milk spot livers (Ascaris suum) and bacteria-related pathologies, suggesting a potential multi-pathogen nature for this pathology.
Conclusions
The application of novel multi-dimensional machine learning methodology provided new insights into how typical pig pathologies are potentially interrelated at batch level. The methodology presented is a powerful exploratory tool to generate hypotheses, applicable to a wide range of studies in veterinary research.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-151
PMCID: PMC3483212  PMID: 22937883
6.  Prognostic factors in canine appendicular osteosarcoma – a meta-analysis 
Background
Appendicular osteosarcoma is the most common malignant primary canine bone tumor. When treated by amputation or tumor removal alone, median survival times (MST) do not exceed 5 months, with the majority of dogs suffering from metastatic disease. This period can be extended with adequate local intervention and adjuvant chemotherapy, which has become common practice. Several prognostic factors have been reported in many different studies, e.g. age, breed, weight, sex, neuter status, location of tumor, serum alkaline phosphatase (SALP), bone alkaline phosphatase (BALP), infection, percentage of bone length affected, histological grade or histological subtype of tumor. Most of these factors are, however, only reported as confounding factors in larger studies. Insight in truly significant prognostic factors at time of diagnosis may contribute to tailoring adjuvant therapy for individual dogs suffering from osteosarcoma. The objective of this study was to systematically review the prognostic factors that are described for canine appendicular osteosarcoma and validate their scientific importance.
Results
A literature review was performed on selected studies and eligible data were extracted. Meta-analyses were done for two of the three selected possible prognostic factors (SALP and location), looking at both survival time (ST) and disease free interval (DFI). The third factor (age) was studied in a qualitative manner. Both elevated SALP level and the (proximal) humerus as location of the primary tumor are significant negative prognostic factors for both ST and DFI in dogs with appendicular osteosarcoma. Increasing age was associated with shorter ST and DFI, however, was not statistically significant because information of this factor was available in only a limited number of papers.
Conclusions
Elevated SALP and proximal humeral location are significant negative prognosticators for canine osteosarcoma.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-56
PMCID: PMC3482154  PMID: 22587466
Bone tumor; Dog; Survival; Disease-free interval; Prognostic factors
7.  Presence of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in Environmental Samples Collected on Commercial Dutch Dairy Farms ▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2010;76(18):6310-6312.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, the causative agent of Johne's disease in cattle, was identified in settled-dust samples of Dutch commercial dairy farms, both in the dairy barn and in the young stock housing. Bioaerosols may play a role in within-farm M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis transmission.
doi:10.1128/AEM.00998-10
PMCID: PMC2937508  PMID: 20656861
8.  Reduction of Coxiella burnetii Prevalence by Vaccination of Goats and Sheep, the Netherlands 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2011;17(3):379-386.
Recently, the number of human Q fever cases in the Netherlands increased dramatically. In response to this increase, dairy goats and dairy sheep were vaccinated against Coxiella burnetii. All pregnant dairy goats and dairy sheep in herds positive for Q fever were culled. We identified the effect of vaccination on bacterial shedding by small ruminants. On the day of culling, samples of uterine fluid, vaginal mucus, and milk were obtained from 957 pregnant animals in 13 herds. Prevalence and bacterial load were reduced in vaccinated animals compared with unvaccinated animals. These effects were most pronounced in animals during their first pregnancy. Results indicate that vaccination may reduce bacterial load in the environment and human exposure to C. burnetii.
doi:10.3201/eid1703.101157
PMCID: PMC3166012  PMID: 21392427
Q fever; Coxiella burnetii; bacterial vaccine; bacteria; bacterial shedding; goats; sheep; the Netherlands; expedited; research
9.  Modelling effectiveness of herd level vaccination against Q fever in dairy cattle 
Veterinary Research  2011;42(1):68.
Q fever is a worldwide zoonosis caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. The control of this infection in cattle is crucial: infected ruminants can indeed encounter reproductive disorders and represent the most important source of human infection. In the field, vaccination is currently advised in infected herds but the comparative effectiveness of different vaccination protocols has never been explored: the duration of the vaccination programme and the category of animals to be vaccinated have to be determined. Our objective was to compare, by simulation, the effectiveness over 10 years of three different vaccination strategies in a recently infected dairy cattle herd.
A stochastic individual-based epidemic model coupled with a model of herd demography was developed to simulate three temporal outputs (shedder prevalence, environmental bacterial load and number of abortions) and to calculate the extinction rate of the infection. For all strategies, the temporal outputs were predicted to strongly decrease with time at least in the first years of vaccination. However, vaccinating only three years was predicted inadequate to stabilize these dynamic outputs at a low level. Vaccination of both cows and heifers was predicted as being slightly more effective than vaccinating heifers only. Although the simulated extinction rate of the infection was high for both scenarios, the outputs decreased slower when only heifers were vaccinated.
Our findings shed new light on vaccination effectiveness related to Q fever. Moreover, the model can be further modified for simulating and assessing various Q fever control strategies such as environmental and hygienic measures.
doi:10.1186/1297-9716-42-68
PMCID: PMC3125226  PMID: 21605376
10.  Intestinal infection following aerosol challenge of calves with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis 
Veterinary Research  2011;42(1):117.
A challenge experiment was performed to investigate whether administration of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) via the respiratory route leads to MAP infection in calves. Eighteen calves from test negative dams were randomly allocated to four groups. Six calves were challenged with MAP nasally and six calves were challenged by transtracheal injection; three orally challenged calves served as positive controls, and three non challenged calves as negative controls. The challenge was performed as a nine-fold trickle dose, 107 CFU in total. Blood and faecal samples were collected frequently. Calves were euthanized three months post-challenge and extensively sampled. Blood samples were tested for the presence of antibodies and interferon gamma producing cells by ELISA. Faecal and tissue samples were cultured in a liquid culture system and the presence of MAP was confirmed by IS900 realtime PCR. Fourteen out of fifteen calves had no MAP antibody response. The negative controls remained negative; all positive controls became infected. Two nasally challenged calves showed a Purified Protein Derivative Avian (PPDA) specific interferon gamma response. In all nasally challenged calves, MAP positive intestinal samples were detected. In three calves of the nasal group MAP positive retropharyngeal lymph nodes or tonsils were detected. In all calves of the transtracheal group MAP positive intestinal tissues were detected as well and three had a MAP positive tracheobronchial lymph node. These findings indicate that inhalation of MAP aerosols can result in infection. These experimental results may be relevant for transmission under field conditions since viable MAP has been detected in dust on commercial dairy farms.
doi:10.1186/1297-9716-42-117
PMCID: PMC3245454  PMID: 22136728
11.  Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1, Thailand, 2004 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2005;11(11):1664-1672.
Early detection and control curtail outbreaks.
In January 2004, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus of the H5N1 subtype was first confirmed in poultry and humans in Thailand. Control measures, e.g., culling poultry flocks, restricting poultry movement, and improving hygiene, were implemented. Poultry populations in 1,417 villages in 60 of 76 provinces were affected in 2004. A total of 83% of infected flocks confirmed by laboratories were backyard chickens (56%) or ducks (27%). Outbreaks were concentrated in the Central, the southern part of the Northern, and Eastern Regions of Thailand, which are wetlands, water reservoirs, and dense poultry areas. More than 62 million birds were either killed by HPAI viruses or culled. H5N1 virus from poultry caused 17 human cases and 12 deaths in Thailand; a number of domestic cats, captive tigers, and leopards also died of the H5N1 virus. In 2005, the epidemic is ongoing in Thailand.
doi:10.3201/eid1111.050608
PMCID: PMC3367332  PMID: 16318716
Influenza; avian influenza; epidemiology; poultry; control measures; Thailand; synopsis

Results 1-11 (11)