276 research outputs found

    Risk factors for African swine fever incursion in Romanian domestic farms during 2019

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    African swine fever (ASF) entered Georgia in 2007 and the EU in 2014. In the EU, the virus primarily spread in wild boar (Sus scrofa) in the period from 2014–2018. However, from the summer 2018, numerous domestic pig farms in Romania were affected by ASF. In contrast to the existing knowledge on ASF transmission routes, the understanding of risk factors and the importance of different transmission routes is still limited. In the period from May to September 2019, 655 Romanian pig farms were included in a matched case-control study investigating possible risk factors for ASF incursion in commercial and backyard pig farms. The results showed that close proximity to outbreaks in domestic farms was a risk factor in commercial as well as backyard farms. Furthermore, in backyard farms, herd size, wild boar abundance around the farm, number of domestic outbreaks within 2 km around farms, short distance to wild boar cases and visits of professionals working on farms were statistically significant risk factors. Additionally, growing crops around the farm, which could potentially attract wild boar, and feeding forage from ASF affected areas to the pigs were risk factors for ASF incursion in backyard farms.We acknowledge financial support from EFSA, ANSVSA and from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (FVST) as part of the agreement of commissioned work between the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and the University of Copenhagen.Peer reviewe

    Relationships among some serum enzymes, negative energy balance parameters, parity and postparturient clinical (endo)metritis in Holstein Friesian cows – Short communication

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    Activities of alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase, and concentrations of serum metabolites [beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA)] of primiparous (n = 83) and multiparous (n = 213) Holstein cows were studied as possible predictors of retained fetal membranes (RFM), grade 2 clinical metritis (CM) and clinical endometritis (CEM). A logistic regression model was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) for the prevalence of CM diagnosed between 0–5, 6–10 and 11–20 days in milk (DIM) and for the prevalence of CEM diagnosed between 22–28 and 42–49 DIM. The activities of the examined serum enzymes did not show significant associations either with CM or with CEM. For NEFA sampled on days 0 and 5, an OR of 2.38 for CM 0–20 DIM and an OR of 2.58 for CM 11–20 DIM was found. For BHB sampled on days 0 and 5, an OR of 8.20 for CEM 22–28 and 42–49 DIM and an OR of 1.98 for CM 6–10 DIM were found. The prevalence of RFM was higher in ≥ 4 parity cows compared to primiparous cows (46.3% vs. 26.5%). BHB and NEFA levels measured between 0 and 5 DIM could have a predictive ability for postpartum uterine disorders such as RFM, CM and CEM

    Using expert elicitation to abridge the Welfare Quality® protocol for monitoring the most adverse dairy cattle welfare impairments

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    The Welfare Quality® consortium has developed and proposed standard protocols for monitoring farm animal welfare. The uptake of the dairy cattle protocol has been below expectation, however, and it has been criticized for the variable quality of the welfare measures and for a limited number of measures having a disproportionally large effect on the integrated welfare categorization. Aiming for a wide uptake by the milk industry, we revised and simplified the Welfare Quality® protocol into a user-friendly tool for cost- and time-efficient on-farm monitoring of dairy cattle welfare with a minimal number of key animal-based measures that are aggregated into a continuous (and thus discriminative) welfare index (WI). The inevitable subjective decisions were based upon expert opinion, as considerable expertise about cattle welfare issues and about the interpretation, importance, and validity of the welfare measures was deemed essential. The WI is calculated as the sum of the severity score (i.e., how severely a welfare problem affects cow welfare) multiplied with the herd prevalence for each measure. The selection of measures (lameness, leanness, mortality, hairless patches, lesions/swellings, somatic cell count) and their severity scores were based on expert surveys (14–17 trained users of the Welfare Quality® cattle protocol). The prevalence of these welfare measures was assessed in 491 European herds. Experts allocated a welfare score (from 0 to 100) to 12 focus herds for which the prevalence of each welfare measure was benchmarked against all 491 herds. Quadratic models indicated a high correspondence between these subjective scores and the WI (R(2) = 0.91). The WI allows both numerical (0–100) as a qualitative (“not classified” to “excellent”) evaluation of welfare. Although it is sensitive to those welfare issues that most adversely affect cattle welfare (as identified by EFSA), the WI should be accompanied with a disclaimer that lists adverse or favorable effects that cannot be detected adequately by the current selection of measures

    Experimental and field investigations of exposure, replication and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in pigs in the Netherlands

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    In order to assess the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, transmission and reservoir development in swine, we combined results of an experimental and two observational studies. First, intranasal and intratracheal challenge of eight pigs did not result in infection, based on clinical signs and PCR on swab and lung tissue samples. Two serum samples returned a low positive result in virus neutralization, in line with findings in other infection experiments in pigs. Next, a retrospective observational study was performed in the Netherlands in the spring of 2020. Serum samples (N =417) obtained at slaughter from 17 farms located in a region with a high human case incidence in the first wave of the pandemic. Samples were tested with protein micro array, plaque reduction neutralization test and receptor-binding-domain ELISA. None of the serum samples was positive in all three assays, although six samples from one farm returned a low positive result in PRNT (titers 40-80). Therefore we conclude that serological evidence for large scale transmission was not observed. Finally, an outbreak of respiratory disease in pigs on one farm, coinciding with recent exposure to SARS-CoV-2 infected animal caretakers, was investigated. Tonsil swabs and paired serum samples were tested. No evidence for infection with SARS-CoV-2 was found. In conclusion, Although in both the experimental and the observational study few samples returned low antibody titer results in PRNT infection with SARS-CoV-2 was not confirmed. It was concluded that sporadic infections in the field cannot be excluded, but large-scale SARS-CoV-2 transmission among pigs is unlikely.info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    A description and qualitative comparison of the elements of heterogeneous bovine viral diarrhea control programs that influence confidence of freedom

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    For endemic infections in cattle that are not regulated at the European Union level, such as bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), European Member States have implemented control or eradication programs (CEP) tailored to their specific situations. Different methods are used to assign infection-free status in CEP; therefore, the confidence of freedom associated with the “free” status generated by different CEP are difficult to compare, creating problems for the safe trade of cattle between territories. Safe trade would be facilitated with an output-based framework that enables a transparent and standardized comparison of confidence of freedom for CEP across herds, regions, or countries. The current paper represents the first step toward development of such a framework by seeking to describe and qualitatively compare elements of CEP that contribute to confidence of freedom. For this work, BVDV was used as a case study. We qualitatively compared heterogeneous BVDV CEP in 6 European countries: Germany, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Scotland. Information about BVDV CEP that were in place in 2017 and factors influencing the risk of introduction and transmission of BVDV (the context) were collected using an existing tool, with modifications to collect information about aspects of control and context. For the 6 participating countries, we ranked all individual elements of the CEP and their contexts that could influence the probability that cattle from a herd categorized as BVDV-free are truly free from infection. Many differences in the context and design of BVDV CEP were found. As examples, CEP were either mandatory or voluntary, resulting in variation in risks from neighboring herds, and risk factors such as cattle density and the number of imported cattle varied greatly between territories. Differences were also found in both testing protocols and definitions of freedom from disease. The observed heterogeneity in both the context and CEP design will create difficulties when comparing different CEP in terms of confidence of freedom from infection. These results highlight the need for a standardized practical methodology to objectively and quantitatively determine confidence of freedom resulting from different CEP around the world

    Identification of LukPQ, a novel, equid-adapted leukocidin of Staphylococcus aureus.

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    Bicomponent pore-forming leukocidins are a family of potent toxins secreted by Staphylococcus aureus, which target white blood cells preferentially and consist of an S- and an F-component. The S-component recognizes a receptor on the host cell, enabling high-affinity binding to the cell surface, after which the toxins form a pore that penetrates the cell lipid bilayer. Until now, six different leukocidins have been described, some of which are host and cell specific. Here, we identify and characterise a novel S. aureus leukocidin; LukPQ. LukPQ is encoded on a 45 kb prophage (ΦSaeq1) found in six different clonal lineages, almost exclusively in strains cultured from equids. We show that LukPQ is a potent and specific killer of equine neutrophils and identify equine-CXCRA and CXCR2 as its target receptors. Although the S-component (LukP) is highly similar to the S-component of LukED, the species specificity of LukPQ and LukED differs. By forming non-canonical toxin pairs, we identify that the F-component contributes to the observed host tropism of LukPQ, thereby challenging the current paradigm that leukocidin specificity is driven solely by the S-component

    Output-based assessment of herd-level freedom from infection in endemic situations:Application of a Bayesian Hidden Markov model

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    International audienceCountries have implemented control programmes (CPs) for cattle diseases such as bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) that are tailored to each country-specific situation. Practical methods are needed to assess the output of these CPs in terms of the confidence of freedom from infection that is achieved. As part of the STOC free project, a Bayesian Hidden Markov model was developed, called STOC free model, to estimate the probability of infection at herd-level. In the current study, the STOC free model was applied to BVDV field data in four study regions, from CPs based on ear notch samples. The aim of this study was to estimate the probability of herd-level freedom from BVDV in regions that are not (yet) free. We additionally evaluated the sensitivity of the parameter estimates and predicted probabilities of freedom to the prior distributions for the different model parameters. First, default priors were used in the model to enable comparison of model outputs between study regions. Thereafter, country-specific priors based on expert opinion or historical data were used in the model, to study the influence of the priors on the results and to obtain country-specific estimates.The STOC free model calculates a posterior value for the model parameters (e.g. herd-level test sensitivity and specificity, probability of introduction of infection) and a predicted probability of infection. The probability of freedom from infection was computed as one minus the probability of infection. For dairy herds that were considered free from infection within their own CP, the predicted probabilities of freedom were very high for all study regions ranging from 0.98 to 1.00, regardless of the use of default or country-specific priors. The priors did have more influence on two of the model parameters, herd-level sensitivity and the probability of remaining infected, due to the low prevalence and incidence of BVDV in the study regions. The advantage of STOC free model compared to scenario tree modelling, the reference method, is that actual data from the CP can be used and estimates are easily updated when new data becomes availabl

    Adaptation, spread and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in farmed minks and associated humans in the Netherlands

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    In the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (April 2020), SARS-CoV-2 was detected in farmed minks and genomic sequencing was performed on mink farms and farm personnel. Here, we describe the outbreak and use sequence data with Bayesian phylodynamic methods to explore SARS-CoV-2 transmission in minks and humans on farms. High number of farm infections (68/126) in minks and farm workers (>50% of farms) were detected, with limited community spread. Three of five initial introductions of SARS-CoV-2 led to subsequent spread between mink farms until November 2020. Viruses belonging to the largest cluster acquired an amino acid substitution in the receptor binding domain of the Spike protein (position 486), evolved faster and spread longer and more widely. Movement of people and distance between farms were statistically significant predictors of virus dispersal between farms. Our study provides novel insights into SARS-CoV-2 transmission between mink farms and highlights the importance of combining genetic information with epidemiological information when investigating outbreaks at the animal-human interface

    Monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 infection in mustelids

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    American mink and ferret are highly susceptible to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), but no information is available for other mustelid species. SARS-CoV-2 spreads very efficiently within mink farms once introduced, by direct and indirect contact, high within-farm animal density increases the chance for transmission. Between-farm spread is likely to occur once SARS-CoV-2 is introduced, short distance between SARS-CoV-2 positive farms is a risk factor. As of 29 January 2021, SARS-CoV-2 virus has been reported in 400 mink farms in eight countries in the European Union. In most cases, the likely introduction of SARS-CoV-2 infection into farms was infected humans. Human health can be at risk by mink-related variant viruses, which can establish circulation in the community, but so far these have not shown to be more transmissible or causing more severe impact compared with other circulating SARS-CoV-2. Concerning animal health risk posed by SARS-CoV-2 infection the animal species that may be included in monitoring plans are American mink, ferrets, cats, raccoon dogs, white-tailed deer and Rhinolophidae bats. All mink farms should be considered at risk of infection; therefore, the monitoring objective should be early detection. This includes passive monitoring (in place in the whole territory of all countries where animals susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 are bred) but also active monitoring by regular testing. First, frequent testing of farm personnel and all people in contact with the animals is recommended. Furthermore randomly selected animals (dead or sick animals should be included) should be tested using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), ideally at weekly intervals (i.e. design prevalence approximately 5% in each epidemiological unit, to be assessed case by case). Suspected animals (dead or with clinical signs and a minimum five animals) should be tested for confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Positive samples from each farm should be sequenced to monitor virus evolution and results publicly shared

    Risks related to a possible reduction of the waiting period for dogs after rabies antibody titration to 30 days compared with 90 days of the current EU legislative regime

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    EFSA received a mandate from the European Commission to assess the risks related to a possible reduction of the waiting period after rabies antibody titration test to 30 days compared with 90 days of the current EU legislation, for dogs moving from certain non-EU countries to the EU. This Scientific Report assessed the probability of introduction of rabies into the EU through commercial and non-commercial movements of vaccinated dogs with a positive titration test (≥ 0.5 IU/mL) if the waiting period decreases from 90 to 30 days. Assuming that all the legal requirements are complied with, the risk of transmission of rabies through the movement of a vaccinated dog is related to the risk of introducing an animal incubating rabies that was infected before the day of vaccination or shortly after vaccination but before the development of immunity (21 days post-vaccination). Using published data on the incubation period for experimental and field cases in dogs and considering the rabies incidence data in certain countries, the aggregated probability for the annual introduction of rabies through dogs was assessed. Considering the uncertainty related to the duration of the incubation period, the number of imported dogs, and the disease incidence in some countries it was concluded with a 95% certainty that the maximum number of rabies-infected imported dogs complying with the regulations in a 20-year period could increase from 5 to 20 when decreasing the waiting period from 90 to 30 days. Nevertheless, the potential impact of even a small increase in probability means the risk is increased for a region like the EU where rabies has long been a focus for eradication, to protect human and animal health
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