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1.  Tonsils of the Soft Palate Do Not Mediate the Response of Pigs to Oral Vaccination with Heat-Inactivated Mycobacterium bovis 
Mycobacterium bovis causes animal tuberculosis (TB) in cattle, humans, and other mammalian species, including pigs. The goal of this study was to experimentally assess the responses of pigs with and without a history of tonsillectomy to oral vaccination with heat-inactivated M. bovis and challenge with a virulent M. bovis field strain, to compare pig and wild boar responses using the same vaccination model as previously used in the Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa), to evaluate the use of several enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and lateral flow tests for in vivo TB diagnosis in pigs, and to verify if these tests are influenced by oral vaccination with inactivated M. bovis. At necropsy, the lesion and culture scores were 20% to 43% higher in the controls than those in the vaccinated pigs. Massive M. bovis growth from thoracic tissue samples was observed in 4 out of 9 controls but in none of the 10 vaccinated pigs. No effect of the presence or absence of tonsils was observed on these scores, suggesting that tonsils are not involved in the protective response to this vaccine in pigs. The serum antibody levels increased significantly only after challenge. At necropsy, the estimated sensitivities of the ELISAs and dual path platform (DPP) assays ranged from 89% to 94%. In the oral mucosa, no differences in gene expression were observed in the control group between the pigs with and without tonsils. In the vaccinated group, the mRNA levels for chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 7 (CCR7), interferon beta (IFN-β), and methylmalonyl coenzyme A mutase (MUT) were higher in pigs with tonsils. Complement component 3 mRNA levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) increased with vaccination and decreased after M. bovis challenge. This information is relevant for pig production in regions that are endemic for M. bovis and for TB vaccine research.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00221-14
PMCID: PMC4135923  PMID: 24920604
2.  Spatial Dynamics of Bovine Tuberculosis in the Autonomous Community of Madrid, Spain (2010–2012) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115632.
Progress in control of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is often not uniform, usually due to the effect of one or more sometimes unknown epidemiological factors impairing the success of eradication programs. Use of spatial analysis can help to identify clusters of persistence of disease, leading to the identification of these factors thus allowing the implementation of targeted control measures, and may provide some insights of disease transmission, particularly when combined with molecular typing techniques. Here, the spatial dynamics of bTB in a high prevalence region of Spain were assessed during a three year period (2010–2012) using data from the eradication campaigns to detect clusters of positive bTB herds and of those infected with certain Mycobacterium bovis strains (characterized using spoligotyping and VNTR typing). In addition, the within-herd transmission coefficient (β) was estimated in infected herds and its spatial distribution and association with other potential outbreak and herd variables was evaluated. Significant clustering of positive herds was identified in the three years of the study in the same location (“high risk area”). Three spoligotypes (SB0339, SB0121 and SB1142) accounted for >70% of the outbreaks detected in the three years. VNTR subtyping revealed the presence of few but highly prevalent strains within the high risk area, suggesting maintained transmission in the area. The spatial autocorrelation found in the distribution of the estimated within-herd transmission coefficients in herds located within distances <14 km and the results of the spatial regression analysis, support the hypothesis of shared local factors affecting disease transmission in farms located at a close proximity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115632
PMCID: PMC4275235  PMID: 25536514
3.  Epidemiological Investigation of Bovine Tuberculosis Herd Breakdowns in Spain 2009/2011 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104383.
We analyzed the most likely cause of 687 bovine tuberculosis (bTB) breakdowns detected in Spain between 2009 and 2011 (i.e., 22% of the total number of breakdowns detected during this period). Seven possible causes were considered: i) residual infection; ii) introduction of infected cattle from other herds; iii) sharing of pastures with infected herds; iv) contiguous spread from infected neighbor herds; v) presence of infected goats in the farm; vi) interaction with wildlife reservoirs and vii) contact with an infected human. For each possible cause a decision tree was developed and key questions were included in each of them. Answers to these key questions lead to different events within each decision tree. In order to assess the likelihood of occurrence of the different events a qualitative risk assessment approach was used. For this purpose, an expert opinion workshop was organized and ordinal values, ranging from 0 to 9 (i.e., null to very high likelihood of occurrence) were assigned. The analysis identified residual infection as the most frequent cause of bTB breakdowns (22.3%; 95%CI: 19.4–25.6), followed by interaction with wildlife reservoirs (13.1%; 95%CI: 10.8–15.8). The introduction of infected cattle, sharing of pastures and contiguous spread from infected neighbour herds were also identified as relevant causes. In 41.6% (95%CI: 38.0–45.4) of the breakdowns the origin of infection remained unknown.
Veterinary officers conducting bTB breakdown investigations have to state their opinion about the possible cause of each breakdown. Comparison between the results of our analysis and the opinion from veterinary officers revealed a slight concordance. This slight agreement might reflect a lack of harmonized criteria to assess the most likely cause of bTB breakdowns as well as different perceptions about the importance of the possible causes. This is especially relevant in the case of the role of wildlife reservoirs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104383
PMCID: PMC4134210  PMID: 25127254
4.  Assessment of an Oral Mycobacterium bovis BCG Vaccine and an Inactivated M. bovis Preparation for Wild Boar in Terms of Adverse Reactions, Vaccine Strain Survival, and Uptake by Nontarget Species 
Wildlife vaccination is increasingly being considered as an option for tuberculosis control. We combined data from laboratory trials and an ongoing field trial to assess the risk of an oral Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine and a prototype heat-inactivated Mycobacterium bovis preparation for Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa). We studied adverse reactions, BCG survival, BCG excretion, and bait uptake by nontarget species. No adverse reactions were observed after administration of BCG (n = 27) or inactivated M. bovis (n = 21). BCG was not found at necropsy (175 to 300 days postvaccination [n = 27]). No BCG excretion was detected in fecal samples (n = 162) or in urine or nasal, oral, or fecal swab samples at 258 days postvaccination (n = 29). In the field, we found no evidence of loss of BCG viability in baits collected after 36 h (temperature range, 11°C to 41°C). Camera trapping showed that wild boar (39%) and birds (56%) were the most frequent visitors to bait stations (selective feeders). Wild boar activity patterns were nocturnal, while diurnal activities were recorded for all bird species. We found large proportions of chewed capsules (29%) (likely ingestion of the vaccine) and lost baits (39%) (presumably consumed), and the proportion of chewed capsules showed a positive correlation with the presence of wild boar. Both results suggest proper bait consumption (68%). These results indicate that BCG vaccination in wild boar is safe and that, while bait consumption by other species is possible, this can be minimized by using selective cages and strict timing of bait deployment.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00488-13
PMCID: PMC3910919  PMID: 24173022
5.  Oral Vaccination with Heat Inactivated Mycobacterium bovis Activates the Complement System to Protect against Tuberculosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98048.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains a pandemic affecting billions of people worldwide, thus stressing the need for new vaccines. Defining the correlates of vaccine protection is essential to achieve this goal. In this study, we used the wild boar model for mycobacterial infection and TB to characterize the protective mechanisms elicited by a new heat inactivated Mycobacterium bovis vaccine (IV). Oral vaccination with the IV resulted in significantly lower culture and lesion scores, particularly in the thorax, suggesting that the IV might provide a novel vaccine for TB control with special impact on the prevention of pulmonary disease, which is one of the limitations of current vaccines. Oral vaccination with the IV induced an adaptive antibody response and activation of the innate immune response including the complement component C3 and inflammasome. Mycobacterial DNA/RNA was not involved in inflammasome activation but increased C3 production by a still unknown mechanism. The results also suggested a protective mechanism mediated by the activation of IFN-γ producing CD8+ T cells by MHC I antigen presenting dendritic cells (DCs) in response to vaccination with the IV, without a clear role for Th1 CD4+ T cells. These results support a role for DCs in triggering the immune response to the IV through a mechanism similar to the phagocyte response to PAMPs with a central role for C3 in protection against mycobacterial infection. Higher C3 levels may allow increased opsonophagocytosis and effective bacterial clearance, while interfering with CR3-mediated opsonic and nonopsonic phagocytosis of mycobacteria, a process that could be enhanced by specific antibodies against mycobacterial proteins induced by vaccination with the IV. These results suggest that the IV acts through novel mechanisms to protect against TB in wild boar.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098048
PMCID: PMC4026474  PMID: 24842853
6.  Splitting of a Prevalent Mycobacterium bovis Spoligotype by Variable-Number Tandem-Repeat Typing Reveals High Heterogeneity in an Evolving Clonal Group 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(11):3658-3665.
Mycobacterium bovis populations in countries with persistent bovine tuberculosis usually show a prevalent spoligotype with a wide geographical distribution. This study applied mycobacterial interspersed repetitive-unit–variable-number tandem-repeat (MIRU-VNTR) typing to a random panel of 115 M. bovis isolates that are representative of the most frequent spoligotype in the Iberian Peninsula, SB0121. VNTR typing targeted nine loci: ETR-A (alias VNTR2165), ETR-B (VNTR2461), ETR-D (MIRU4, VNTR580), ETR-E (MIRU31, VNTR3192), MIRU26 (VNTR2996), QUB11a (VNTR2163a), QUB11b (VNTR2163b), QUB26 (VNTR4052), and QUB3232 (VNTR3232). We found a high degree of diversity among the studied isolates (discriminatory index [D] = 0.9856), which were split into 65 different MIRU-VNTR types. An alternative short-format MIRU-VNTR typing targeting only the four loci with the highest variability values was found to offer an equivalent discriminatory index. Minimum spanning trees using the MIRU-VNTR data showed the hypothetical evolution of an apparent clonal group. MIRU-VNTR analysis was also applied to the isolates of 176 animals from 15 farms infected by M. bovis SB0121; in 10 farms, the analysis revealed the coexistence of two to five different MIRU types differing in one to six loci, which highlights the frequency of undetected heterogeneity.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01271-13
PMCID: PMC3889748  PMID: 23985914
7.  Long-Term Assessment of Wild Boar Harvesting and Cattle Removal for Bovine Tuberculosis Control in Free Ranging Populations 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88824.
Wild boar is a recognized reservoir of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in the Mediterranean ecosystems, but information is scarce outside of hotspots in southern Spain. We describe the first high-prevalence focus of TB in a non-managed wild boar population in northern Spain and the result of eight years of TB management. Measures implemented for disease control included the control of the local wild boar population through culling and stamping out of a sympatric infected cattle herd. Post-mortem inspection for detection of tuberculosis-like lesions as well as cultures from selected head and cervical lymph nodes was done in 745 wild boar, 355 Iberian ibexes and five cattle between 2004 and 2012. The seasonal prevalence of TB reached 70% amongst adult wild boar and ten different spoligotypes and 13 MIRU-VNTR profiles were detected, although more than half of the isolates were included in the same clonal complex. Only 11% of infected boars had generalized lesions. None of the ibexes were affected, supporting their irrelevance in the epidemiology of TB. An infected cattle herd grazed the zone where 168 of the 197 infected boars were harvested. Cattle removal and wild boar culling together contributed to a decrease in TB prevalence. The need for holistic, sustained over time, intensive and adapted TB control strategies taking into account the multi-host nature of the disease is highlighted. The potential risk for tuberculosis emergence in wildlife scenarios where the risk is assumed to be low should be addressed.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088824
PMCID: PMC3928305  PMID: 24558435
8.  Population Structure and Antimicrobial Susceptibility of Both Nonpersistent and Persistent Pseudomonas aeruginosa Isolates Recovered from Cystic Fibrosis Patients 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(8):2761-2765.
Seventy-six Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates recovered from chronically (n = 18) and nonchronically (n = 18) colonized cystic fibrosis (CF) patients (2002 to 2009) were grouped in separate polyclonal populations. International CF epidemic clones were not identified, but the high-risk clone ST274, also found circulating in Spanish hospitals, was present. Persistent isolates were more resistant to antibiotics than nonpersistent isolates.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00802-13
PMCID: PMC3719646  PMID: 23761158
9.  Risk factors associated with negative in-vivo diagnostic results in bovine tuberculosis-infected cattle in Spain 
Background
Despite great effort and investment incurred over decades to control bovine tuberculosis (bTB), it is still one of the most important zoonotic diseases in many areas of the world. Test-and-slaughter strategies, the basis of most bTB eradication programs carried out worldwide, have demonstrated its usefulness in the control of the disease. However, in certain countries, eradication has not been achieved due in part to limitations of currently available diagnostic tests. In this study, results of in-vivo and post-mortem diagnostic tests performed on 3,614 animals from 152 bTB-infected cattle herds (beef, dairy, and bullfighting) detected in 2007–2010 in the region of Castilla y León, Spain, were analyzed to identify factors associated with positive bacteriological results in cattle that were non-reactors to the single intradermal tuberculin test, to the interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) assay, or to both tests applied in parallel (Test negative/Culture + animals, T-/C+). The association of individual factors (age, productive type, and number of herd-tests performed since the disclosure of the outbreak) with the bacteriology outcome (positive/negative) was analyzed using a mixed multivariate logistic regression model.
Results
The proportion of non-reactors with a positive post-mortem result ranged from 24.3% in the case of the SIT test to 12.9% (IFN-γ with 0.05 threshold) and 11.9% (95% CI 9.9-11.4%) using both tests in parallel. Older (>4.5 years) and bullfighting cattle were associated with increased odds of confirmed bTB infection by bacteriology, whereas dairy cattle showed a significantly lower risk. Ancillary use of IFN-γ assay reduced the proportion of T-/C + animals in high risk groups.
Conclusions
These results demonstrate the likelihood of positive bacteriological results in non-reactor cattle is influenced by individual epidemiological factors of tested animals. Increased surveillance on non-reactors with an increased probability of being false negative could be helpful to avoid bTB persistence, particularly in chronically infected herds. These findings may aid in the development of effective strategies for eradication of bTB in Spain.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-14
PMCID: PMC3895706  PMID: 24410926
Tuberculosis; Cattle; Diagnosis; Single tuberculin test; Interferon-gamma assay; Risk factors
10.  Wild boar tuberculosis in Iberian Atlantic Spain: a different picture from Mediterranean habitats 
Background
Infections with Mycobacterium bovis and closely related members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) are shared between livestock, wildlife and sporadically human beings. Wildlife reservoirs exist worldwide and can interfere with bovine tuberculosis (TB) eradication efforts. The Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) is a MTC maintenance host in Mediterranean Iberia (Spain and Portugal). However, few systematic studies in wild boar have been carried out in Atlantic regions. We describe the prevalence, distribution, pathology and epidemiology of MTC and other mycobacteria from wild boar in Atlantic Spain. A total of 2,067 wild boar were sampled between 2008 and 2012.
Results
The results provide insight into the current status of wild boar as MTC and Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) hosts in temperate regions of continental Europe. The main findings were a low TB prevalence (2.6%), a low proportion of MTC infected wild boar displaying generalized TB lesions (16.7%), and a higher proportion of MAC infections (4.5%). Molecular typing revealed epidemiological links between wild boar and domestic – cattle, sheep and goat – and other wildlife – Eurasian badger (Meles meles) and red fox (Vulpes vulpes) – hosts.
Conclusions
This study shows that the likelihood of MTC excretion by wild boar in Atlantic habitats is much lower than in Mediterranean areas. However, wild boar provide a good indicator of MTC circulation and, given the current re-emergence of animal TB, similar large-scale surveys would be advisable in other Atlantic regions of continental Europe.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-176
PMCID: PMC3844463  PMID: 24010539
Wild boar; Tuberculosis; Mycobacterial infections; Atlantic Spain; Cattle
11.  Visible Light Communication System Using an Organic Bulk Heterojunction Photodetector 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2013;13(9):12266-12276.
A visible light communication (VLC) system using an organic bulk heterojunction photodetector (OPD) is presented. The system has been successfully proven indoors with an audio signal. The emitter consists of three commercial high-power white LEDs connected in parallel. The receiver is based on an organic photodetector having as active layer a blend of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and phenyl C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM). The OPD is opto-electrically characterized, showing a responsivity of 0.18 A/W and a modulation response of 790 kHz at −6 V.
doi:10.3390/s130912266
PMCID: PMC3821371  PMID: 24036584
organic photodetector; bulk-heterojunction; visible light communication
12.  Tuberculosis Epidemiology in Islands: Insularity, Hosts and Trade 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e71074.
Because of their relative simplicity and the barriers to gene flow, islands are ideal systems to study the distribution of biodiversity. However, the knowledge that can be extracted from this peculiar ecosystem regarding epidemiology of economically relevant diseases has not been widely addressed. We used information available in the scientific literature for 10 old world islands or archipelagos and original data on Sicily to gain new insights into the epidemiology of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC). We explored three nonexclusive working hypotheses on the processes modulating bovine tuberculosis (bTB) herd prevalence in cattle and MTC strain diversity: insularity, hosts and trade. Results suggest that bTB herd prevalence was positively correlated with island size, the presence of wild hosts, and the number of imported cattle, but neither with isolation nor with cattle density. MTC strain diversity was positively related with cattle bTB prevalence, presence of wild hosts and the number of imported cattle, but not with island size, isolation, and cattle density. The three most common spoligotype patterns coincided between Sicily and mainland Italy. However in Sicily, these common patterns showed a clearer dominance than on the Italian mainland, and seven of 19 patterns (37%) found in Sicily had not been reported from continental Italy. Strain patterns were not spatially clustered in Sicily. We were able to infer several aspects of MTC epidemiology and control in islands and thus in fragmented host and pathogen populations. Our results point out the relevance of the intensity of the cattle commercial networks in the epidemiology of MTC, and suggest that eradication will prove more difficult with increasing size of the island and its environmental complexity, mainly in terms of the diversity of suitable domestic and wild MTC hosts.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071074
PMCID: PMC3726611  PMID: 23923053
13.  Identification of Oxidative Stress Related Proteins as Biomarkers for Lung Cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Bronchoalveolar Lavage 
Lung cancer (LC) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) commonly coexist in smokers, and the presence of COPD increases the risk of developing LC. Cigarette smoke causes oxidative stress and an inflammatory response in lung cells, which in turn may be involved in COPD and lung cancer development. The aim of this study was to identify differential proteomic profiles related to oxidative stress response that were potentially involved in these two pathological entities. Protein content was assessed in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) of 60 patients classified in four groups: COPD, COPD and LC, LC, and control (neither COPD nor LC). Proteins were separated into spots by two dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE) and examined by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF). A total of 16 oxidative stress regulatory proteins were differentially expressed in BAL samples from LC and/or COPD patients as compared with the control group. A distinct proteomic reactive oxygen species (ROS) protein signature emerged that characterized lung cancer and COPD. In conclusion, our findings highlight the role of the oxidative stress response proteins in the pathogenic pathways of both diseases, and provide new candidate biomarkers and predictive tools for LC and COPD diagnosis.
doi:10.3390/ijms14023440
PMCID: PMC3588051  PMID: 23389041
bronchoalveolar lavage; lung cancer; screening; biomarker; inflammation; proteomics; ROS; oxidative stress
14.  A Bayesian approach to study the risk variables for tuberculosis occurrence in domestic and wild ungulates in South Central Spain 
Background
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a chronic infectious disease mainly caused by Mycobacterium bovis. Although eradication is a priority for the European authorities, bTB remains active or even increasing in many countries, causing significant economic losses. The integral consideration of epidemiological factors is crucial to more cost-effectively allocate control measures. The aim of this study was to identify the nature and extent of the association between TB distribution and a list of potential risk factors regarding cattle, wild ungulates and environmental aspects in Ciudad Real, a Spanish province with one of the highest TB herd prevalences.
Results
We used a Bayesian mixed effects multivariable logistic regression model to predict TB occurrence in either domestic or wild mammals per municipality in 2007 by using information from the previous year. The municipal TB distribution and endemicity was clustered in the western part of the region and clearly overlapped with the explanatory variables identified in the final model: (1) incident cattle farms, (2) number of years of veterinary inspection of big game hunting events, (3) prevalence in wild boar, (4) number of sampled cattle, (5) persistent bTB-infected cattle farms, (6) prevalence in red deer, (7) proportion of beef farms, and (8) farms devoted to bullfighting cattle.
Conclusions
The combination of these eight variables in the final model highlights the importance of the persistence of the infection in the hosts, surveillance efforts and some cattle management choices in the circulation of M. bovis in the region. The spatial distribution of these variables, together with particular Mediterranean features that favour the wildlife-livestock interface may explain the M. bovis persistence in this region. Sanitary authorities should allocate efforts towards specific areas and epidemiological situations where the wildlife-livestock interface seems to critically hamper the definitive bTB eradication success.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-148
PMCID: PMC3483254  PMID: 22931852
15.  Eradication of bovine tuberculosis at a herd-level in Madrid, Spain: study of within-herd transmission dynamics over a 12 year period 
Background
Eradication of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) through the application of test-and-cull programs is a declared goal of developed countries in which the disease is still endemic. Here, longitudinal data from more than 1,700 cattle herds tested during a 12 year-period in the eradication program in the region of Madrid, Spain, were analyzed to quantify the within-herd transmission coefficient (β) depending on the herd-type (beef/dairy/bullfighting). In addition, the probability to recover the officially bTB free (OTF) status in infected herds depending on the type of herd and the diagnostic strategy implemented was assessed using Cox proportional hazard models.
Results
Overall, dairy herds showed higher β (median 4.7) than beef or bullfighting herds (2.3 and 2.2 respectively). Introduction of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) as an ancillary test produced an apparent increase in the β coefficient regardless of production type, likely due to an increase in diagnostic sensitivity. Time to recover OTF status was also significantly lower in dairy herds, and length of bTB episodes was significantly reduced when the IFN-γ was implemented to manage the outbreak.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that bTB spreads more rapidly in dairy herds compared to other herd types, a likely cause being management and demographic-related factors. However, outbreaks in dairy herds can be controlled more rapidly than in typically extensive herd types. Finally, IFN-γ proved its usefulness to rapidly eradicate bTB at a herd-level.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-100
PMCID: PMC3464814  PMID: 22748007
16.  Limitations of Spoligotyping and Variable-Number Tandem-Repeat Typing for Molecular Tracing of Mycobacterium bovis in a High-Diversity Setting▿ †  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(9):3361-3364.
This study describes the attempt to trace the first Mycobacterium bovis outbreak in alpacas (Lama pacos) in Spain by spoligotyping and variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) analysis. Due to high genotype diversity, no matching source was identified, but local expansion of a clonal group was found and its significance for molecular tracing is discussed.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00301-11
PMCID: PMC3165628  PMID: 21752973
17.  Reidentification of Streptococcus bovis Isolates Causing Bacteremia According to the New Taxonomy Criteria: Still an Issue? ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(9):3228-3233.
All Streptococcus bovis blood culture isolates recovered from January 2003 to January 2010 (n = 52) at the Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal were reidentified on the basis of their genetic traits using new taxonomic criteria. Initial identification was performed by the semiautomatic Wider system (Fco. Soria-Melguizo, Spain) and the API 20 Strep system (bioMérieux, France). All isolates were reidentified by PCR amplification and sequencing of both the 16S rRNA and sodA genes and by mass spectrometry using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS; Bruker, Germany). Results of 16S rRNA/sodA gene sequencing were as follows: Streptococcus gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus, 14/14 (number of isolates identified by 16S rRNA/number of isolates identified by sodA gene sequencing); Streptococcus gallolyticus subsp. pasteurianus, 24/24; Streptococcus spp., 7/0; Streptococcus infantarius subsp. infantarius, 0/2; Streptococcus lutetiensis, 0/5; Leuconostoc mesenteroides, 4/0; and Lactococcus lactis, 3/3. MALDI-TOF MS identified 27 S. gallolyticus isolates but not at the subspecies level, 4 L. mesenteroides isolates, 3 L. lactis isolates, and 6 S. lutetiensis isolates, whereas 12 isolates rendered a nonreliable identification result. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis grouped all S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus isolates into 3 major clusters clearly different from those of the S. gallolyticus subsp. pasteurianus isolates, which, in turn, exhibited no clonal relationship. The percentages of resistance to the tested antimicrobials were 38% for erythromycin, 23% for fosfomycin, 10% for levofloxacin, 6% for tetracycline, and 4% for co-trimoxazole. The most frequent underlying diseases were hepatobiliary disorders (53%), endocarditis (17%), and malignancies (12%). We conclude that sequencing of the sodA gene was the most discriminatory method and that S. gallolyticus subsp. pasteurianus appears to have a higher genetic diversity than S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00524-11
PMCID: PMC3165630  PMID: 21752968
18.  Humans as Source of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection in Cattle, Spain 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2011;17(12):2393-2395.
doi:10.3201/eid1712.101476
PMCID: PMC3311187  PMID: 22172249
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; human; cattle; epidemiology; bacteria; drug resistance; zoonoses; tuberculosis and other mycobacteria
19.  Protection against Tuberculosis in Eurasian Wild Boar Vaccinated with Heat-Inactivated Mycobacterium bovis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24905.
Tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterium bovis and closely related members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex continues to affect humans and animals worldwide and its control requires vaccination of wildlife reservoir species such as Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa). Vaccination efforts for TB control in wildlife have been based primarily on oral live BCG formulations. However, this is the first report of the use of oral inactivated vaccines for controlling TB in wildlife. In this study, four groups of 5 wild boar each were vaccinated with inactivated M. bovis by the oral and intramuscular routes, vaccinated with oral BCG or left unvaccinated as controls. All groups were later challenged with a field strain of M. bovis. The results of the IFN-gamma response, serum antibody levels, M. bovis culture, TB lesion scores, and the expression of C3 and MUT genes were compared between these four groups. The results suggested that vaccination with heat-inactivated M. bovis or BCG protect wild boar from TB. These results also encouraged testing combinations of BCG and inactivated M. bovis to vaccinate wild boar against TB. Vaccine formulations using heat-inactivated M. bovis for TB control in wildlife would have the advantage of being environmentally safe and more stable under field conditions when compared to live BCG vaccines. The antibody response and MUT expression levels can help differentiating between vaccinated and infected wild boar and as correlates of protective response in vaccinated animals. These results suggest that vaccine studies in free-living wild boar are now possible to reveal the full potential of protecting against TB using oral M. bovis inactivated and BCG vaccines.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024905
PMCID: PMC3173485  PMID: 21935486
20.  Mycobacterium caprae Infection in Livestock and Wildlife, Spain 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2011;17(3):532-535.
Mycobacterium caprae is a pathogen that can infect animals and humans. To better understand the epidemiology of M. caprae, we spoligotyped 791 animal isolates. Results suggest infection is widespread in Spain, affecting 6 domestic and wild animal species. The epidemiology is driven by infections in caprids, although the organism has emerged in cattle.
doi:10.3201/eid1703.100618
PMCID: PMC3165998  PMID: 21392452
Bacteria; zoonoses; Mycobacterium caprae; tuberculosis and other mycobacteria; epidemiology; molecular characterization; livestock; goats; spoligotyping; dispatch
21.  Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in the IS900 Sequence of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis Are Strain Type Specific▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(7):2260-2264.
Insertion sequence IS900 is used as a target for the identification of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Previous reports have revealed single nucleotide polymorphisms within IS900. This study, which analyzed the IS900 sequences of a panel of isolates representing M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis strain types I, II, and III, revealed conserved type-specific polymorphisms that could be utilized as a tool for diagnostic and epidemiological purposes.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00544-09
PMCID: PMC2708469  PMID: 19439536
22.  Genetic Diversity of Mycobacterium avium Isolates Recovered from Clinical Samples and from the Environment: Molecular Characterization for Diagnostic Purposes▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(4):1246-1251.
Isolation of Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) organisms from clinical samples may occur in patients without clinical disease, making the interpretation of results difficult. The clinical relevance of MAC isolates from different types of clinical samples (n = 47) from 39 patients in different sections of a hospital was assessed by comparison with environmental isolates (n = 17) from the hospital. Various methods for identification and typing (commercial probes, phenotypic characteristics, PCR for detection of IS1245 and IS901, sequencing of the hsp65 gene, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis) were evaluated. The same strain was found in all the environmental isolates, 21 out of 23 (91.3%) of the isolates cultured from urine samples, and 5 out of 19 (26.3%) isolates from respiratory specimens. This strain did not cause disease in the patients. Testing best characterized the strain as M. avium subsp. hominissuis, with the unusual feature that 81.4% of these isolates lacked the IS1245 element. Contamination of certain clinical samples with an environmental strain was the most likely event; therefore, characterization of the environmental mycobacteria present in health care facilities should be performed to discard false-positive isolations in nonsterile samples, mainly urine samples. Molecular techniques applied in this study demonstrated their usefulness for this purpose.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01621-07
PMCID: PMC2292972  PMID: 18272714
24.  Molecular Epidemiology of Multidrug-Resistant Mycobacterium bovis Isolates with the Same Spoligotyping Profile as Isolates from Animals†  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(9):3405-3408.
PCR-based characterization techniques have been adopted in most laboratories for Mycobacterium bovis typing. We report a molecular characterization of human multidrug-resistant M. bovis isolates and three bovine isolates that share the spoligotyping profile. The analysis of the direct repeat region showed that both groups differed in the presence of spacers not included in the current membrane. They were also distinguished by two out of the nine mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit variable-number tandem repeat loci tested, indicating that the human infection was not acquired from the cattle from which isolates were obtained. These results highlight that a combination of techniques is required for appropriate discrimination, even for those spoligotypes that have a low frequency.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00730-06
PMCID: PMC1594710  PMID: 16954286
25.  Comparison of Four Different Culture Media for Isolation and Growth of Type II and Type I/III Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis Strains Isolated from Cattle and Goats 
Culture is considered the definitive technique for Johne's disease diagnosis, and it is essential for later applications of certain molecular typing techniques. In this study, we have tested four solid media (Herrold's egg yolk medium [HEYM] with sodium pyruvate and mycobactin [HEYMm-SP], HEYM with mycobactin and without sodium pyruvate [HEYMm], Middlebrook 7H11 with mycobactin [Mm], and Löwenstein-Jensen with mycobactin [LJm]) for isolation of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis strains in 319 tissue samples from cattle herds and goat flocks. We have shown that each of the two main groups of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (type II and type I/III) has different requirements for growth in the culture media studied. The recommended solid media for isolation of type I/III strains are LJm and Mm, since the combination of both media allowed the recovery of all these strains. The most widespread culture medium, HEYM, is not suitable for the isolation of this group of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis strains. Regarding the type II strains, HEYMm-SP was the medium where more strains were isolated, but the other three media are also needed in order to recover all type II strains. The incubation period is also related to the strain type. In conclusion, because the type of strain cannot be known in advance of culture, coupled with the fact that cattle and goats can be infected with both groups of strains, we recommend the use of the four solid media and the prolongation of the incubation period to more than 6 months to detect paratuberculous herds/flocks and to determine the true prevalence of the infection.
doi:10.1128/AEM.00451-06
PMCID: PMC1563672  PMID: 16957212

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