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1.  Observed management practices in relation to the risk of infection with paratuberculosis and to the spread of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in Swiss dairy and beef herds 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:132.
Background
Many studies have been conducted to define risk factors for the transmission of bovine paratuberculosis, mostly in countries with large herds. Little is known about the epidemiology in infected Swiss herds and risk factors important for transmission in smaller herds. Therefore, the presence of known factors which might favor the spread of paratuberculosis and could be related to the prevalence at animal level of fecal shedding of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis were assessed in 17 infected herds (10 dairy, 7 beef). Additionally, the level of knowledge of herd managers about the disease was assessed. In a case–control study with 4 matched negative control herds per infected herd, the association of potential risk factors with the infection status of the herd was investigated.
Results
Exposure of the young stock to feces of older animals was frequently observed in infected and in control herds. The farmers’ knowledge about paratuberculosis was very limited, even in infected herds. An overall prevalence at animal level of fecal shedding of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis of 6.1% was found in infected herds, whereby shedders younger than 2 years of age were found in 46.2% of the herds where the young stock was available for testing. Several factors related to contamination of the heifer area with cows’ feces and the management of the calving area were found to be significantly associated with the within-herd prevalence. Animal purchase was associated with a positive herd infection status (OR = 7.25, p = 0.004).
Conclusions
Numerous risk factors favoring the spread of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis from adult animals to the young stock were observed in infected Swiss dairy and beef herds, which may be amenable to improvement in order to control the disease. Important factors were contamination of the heifer and the calving area, which were associated with higher within-herd prevalence of fecal shedding. The awareness of farmers of paratuberculosis was very low, even in infected herds. Animal purchase in a herd was significantly associated with the probability of a herd to be infected and is thus the most important factor for the control of the spread of disease between farms.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-132
PMCID: PMC4065578  PMID: 24930008
Paratuberculosis; Johne’s disease; Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis; Infection; Awareness; Risk factor; Control; Dairy; Beef
2.  The Burden of Parasitic Zoonoses in Nepal: A Systematic Review 
Background
Parasitic zoonoses (PZs) pose a significant but often neglected threat to public health, especially in developing countries. In order to obtain a better understanding of their health impact, summary measures of population health may be calculated, such as the Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY). However, the data required to calculate such measures are often not readily available for these diseases, which may lead to a vicious circle of under-recognition and under-funding.
Methodology
We examined the burden of PZs in Nepal through a systematic review of online and offline data sources. PZs were classified qualitatively according to endemicity, and where possible a quantitative burden assessment was conducted in terms of the annual number of incident cases, deaths and DALYs.
Principal Findings
Between 2000 and 2012, the highest annual burden was imposed by neurocysticercosis and congenital toxoplasmosis (14,268 DALYs [95% Credibility Interval (CrI): 5450–27,694] and 9255 DALYs [95% CrI: 6135–13,292], respectively), followed by cystic echinococcosis (251 DALYs [95% CrI: 105–458]). Nepal is probably endemic for trichinellosis, toxocarosis, diphyllobothriosis, foodborne trematodosis, taeniosis, and zoonotic intestinal helminthic and protozoal infections, but insufficient data were available to quantify their health impact. Sporadic cases of alveolar echinococcosis, angiostrongylosis, capillariosis, dirofilariosis, gnathostomosis, sparganosis and cutaneous leishmaniosis may occur.
Conclusions/Significance
In settings with limited surveillance capacity, it is possible to quantify the health impact of PZs and other neglected diseases, thereby interrupting the vicious circle of neglect. In Nepal, we found that several PZs are endemic and are imposing a significant burden to public health, higher than that of malaria, and comparable to that of HIV/AIDS. However, several critical data gaps remain. Enhanced surveillance for the endemic PZs identified in this study would enable additional burden estimates, and a more complete picture of the impact of these diseases.
Author Summary
Various parasites that infect humans require animals in some stage of their life cycle. Infection with these so-called zoonotic parasites may vary from asymptomatic carriership to long-term morbidity and even death. Although data are still scarce, it is clear that parasitic zoonoses (PZs) present a significant burden for public health, particularly in poor and marginalized communities. So far, however, there has been relatively little attention to this group of diseases, causing various PZs to be labeled neglected tropical diseases. In this study, the authors reviewed a large variety of data sources to study the relevance and importance of PZs in Nepal. It was found that a large number of PZs are present in Nepal and are imposing an impact higher than that of malaria and comparable to that of HIV/AIDS. These results therefore suggest that PZs deserve greater attention and more intensive surveillance. Furthermore, this study has shown that even in settings with limited surveillance capacity, it is possible to quantify the impact of neglected diseases and, consequently, to break the vicious circle of neglect.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002634
PMCID: PMC3879239  PMID: 24392178
3.  Use of Recombinant Antigens To Detect Antibodies against Mycoplasma suis, with Correlation of Serological Results to Hematological Findings▿  
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2007;14(12):1616-1622.
Porcine eperythrozoonosis is a disease with worldwide distribution caused by the unculturable hemotrophic bacterium Mycoplasma suis. Current serological testing utilizes crude M. suis antigens purified from the blood of experimentally infected pigs. These antigens show high variability and are restricted to specialized laboratories. We evaluated a novel serological assay based on two recombinant M. suis antigens (rMSG1 and rHspA1). Antigen specificity was proven by means of sera raised against nonhemotrophic mycoplasma and other relevant bacteria. Using experimental and convalescent-phase sera, rMSG1 and rHspA1 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) demonstrated sensitivities, specificities, and predictive values (94.0 to 100.0%) equal to or higher than those of the M. suis whole-cell ELISA. Field samples from 120 weaning piglets grouped by quantitative PCR results were used to evaluate the diagnostic capability of the new ELISA systems in comparison to that of the whole-cell ELISA. Assuming a 100.0% specificity of the PCR, the whole-cell ELISA, rHspA1 ELISA, and rMSG1 ELISA showed specificities of 84.8%, 83.8%, and 90.6% and sensitivities of 61.5%, 74.0% and 58.1%, respectively. Cohen's kappa coefficients comparing the recombinant ELISAs to the whole-cell ELISA indicate moderate to substantial agreement. The detection of anti-MSG1 and/or anti-HspA1 antibodies in pigs was significantly correlated with decreased hematocrit, erythrocyte numbers, and hemoglobin concentrations, indicating that a single seropositive result is connected with clinical and etiological significance. In conclusion, rMSG1 and rHspA1 are sensitive and specific serological and infection markers which are for the first time used independently of animal experiments. They are especially fit to be used in routine diagnosis, pathogenesis studies, and large-scale epidemiological investigations.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00345-07
PMCID: PMC2168379  PMID: 17942612
4.  In Vitro Metacestodicidal Activities of Genistein and Other Isoflavones against Echinococcus multilocularis and Echinococcus granulosus▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2006;50(11):3770-3778.
Echinococcus multilocularis and Echinococcus granulosus metacestode infections in humans cause alveolar echinococcosis and cystic echinococcosis, respectively, in which metacestode development in visceral organs often results in particular organ failure. Further, cystic hydatidosis in farm animals causes severe economic losses. Although benzimidazole derivatives such as mebendazole and albendazole are being used as therapeutic agents, there is often no complete recovery after treatment. Hence, in searching for novel treatment options, we examined the in vitro efficacies of a number of isoflavones against Echinococcus metacestodes and protoscoleces. The most prominent isoflavone, genistein, exhibits significant metacestodicidal activity in vitro. However, genistein binds to the estrogen receptor and can thus induce estrogenic effects, which is a major concern during long-term chemotherapy. We have therefore investigated the activities of a number of synthetic genistein derivatives carrying a modified estrogen receptor binding site. One of these, Rm6423, induced dramatic breakdown of the structural integrity of the metacestode germinal layer of both species within 5 to 7 days of in vitro treatment. Further, examination of the culture medium revealed increased leakage of parasite proteins into the medium during treatment, but zymography demonstrated a decrease in the activity of metalloproteases. Moreover, two of the genistein derivatives, Rm6423 and Rm6426, induced considerable damage in E. granulosus protoscoleces, rendering them nonviable. These findings demonstrate that synthetic isoflavones exhibit distinct in vitro effects on Echinococcus metacestodes and protoscoleces, which could potentially be exploited further for the development of novel chemotherapeutical tools against larval-stage Echinococcus infection.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00578-06
PMCID: PMC1635224  PMID: 16954323

Results 1-4 (4)